Clinton defends personal email use
WASHINGTON — Responding to accusations about her personal email accounts, Democratic primary frontrunner Hillary Clinton held a rare news conference Tuesday during which she said she did nothing wrong when she used her personal email account while secretary of state.
She said she opted to use her personal email address, not the State Department address, out of convenience.
“I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails, instead of two,” she said.
The former U.S. first lady quickly added in light of the recent controversy it would have been “smarter” to keep her personal and government-related emails separate and use a state.gov account.
“Looking back it would have been better if I simply used a second email account and carried a second phone but at the time it didn’t seem like an issue,” she said.
Clinton held the news conference after a speech at the United Nations on gender equality. It was an attempt to quell two weeks of controversy sparked by a New York Times article on her use of her private email address. The article implied she had violated U.S. government rules for preserving documents.
Since then, the State Department and National Archives have said this was not the case. The State Department also noted news of her private email address and server were reported in March 2013.
“I fully complied with every rule that I was governed by,” Clinton said.
Republicans have jumped on the controversy, claiming it is another example of Clinton’s secrecy and a readiness to push the boundaries of acceptable conduct.
They have promised a congressional inquiry, which would only add to a long line of Republican investigations into the Clintons, none of which have uncovered any wrongdoing. But they have made her gun-shy and protective of her and her family’s privacy.
Tuesday, Clinton calmly responded to most questions, but just as calmly ignored those about whether her decision to run for president has been affected. She also deflected a question about whether she is being attacked because she is a woman.
“I would leave that to others to answer,” she said.
Clinton said she was following a pattern of conduct set by all former secretaries of state, who also had used private email addresses. When the State Department asked them last year to provide work-related emails from their private accounts, she turned over about 55,000 printed pages of emails and gave it permission to make them public.
She said she had about 60,000 emails, sent and received, on her private server. About half were work-related, the rest were personal.
“What I did was to direct my counsel to conduct a thorough investigation and to err on the side of providing anything that could be connected to work,” she said.
Asked if she would allow an independent third party to search her private emails to see if she was holding anything back, she stood firm.
“The server contains personal communications from my husband and me, and I believe I have met all of my responsibilities and the server will remain private,” she said.
Clinton said the server she used belonged to the office of her husband, former president Bill Clinton.
“It had numerous safeguards,” she said. “It was on property guarded by the Secret Service and there were no security breaches.”