Hillary Rodham Clinton said it was “convenience” that led her to use only her personal e-mail account as secretary of State, but the ensuing controversy over her decision has proved just the opposite.
Clinton held a news conference Tuesday, following a speech at a United Nations meeting on women’s economic status, to answer questions about her use of personal e-mail. However, her answers didn’t placate her Republican critics and could provide fodder during her likely presidential campaign — which she is reportedly planning to launch as early as next month.
Clinton said she went “above and beyond” what she was required to do regarding preserving e-mails from the personal account she used on a private server. Using a personal e-mail was permissible during her tenure as the nation’s top diplomat as long as she kept the records. “I have no doubt we have done exactly what we should have done,” she said.
She did not discuss or receive classified information via e-mail.
She turned over 30,490 e-mails to the State Department in December at the department’s request, just under half of the 62,320 total e-mails she sent or received as secretary of State, Clinton’s office said in information supplied after her news conference. More than 27,500 involved official government email addresses. To identify which e-mails were work-related, her office searched not only for .gov addresses, for names of government officials and Clinton’s staff, but also for terms including “Benghazi” and “Libya.”
The remaining 31,830 were deemed personal and deleted.
She downplayed any effect of the controversy on her potential presidential campaign.
“I trust the American people to make their decisions about political and public matters,” she said.
Republicans have demanded an investigation.
The House Select Committee on Benghazi — which is investigating the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. compound in Libya — has subpoenaed Clinton and the State Department individually for e-mails it does not yet have.
After Clinton’s news conference, Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Clinton’s media session “raised more questions than it answered.”
Clinton “didn’t hand over her e-mails out of the goodness of her heart — she was forced to by smart, determined and effective oversight by the House Select Committee on Benghazi.”
He added that “the American people deserve the truth.”
Although Clinton maintained she had followed the law, she did acknowledge that in hindsight, she would have acted differently.
“Looking back, it would’ve been better to use two separate phones and two e-mail accounts,” she said. “I thought using one devicewould be simpler. Obviously,it hasn’t worked out that way.” Clinton said she “chose not to keep” personal e-mails, such as those related to daughter Chelsea’s wedding in 2010 or the funeral for her mother, Dorothy Rodham, who died in 2011.
“No one wants their personal e-mails made public and I think most people understand that and respect that privacy,” she said. “They had nothing to do with work.’’
Clinton said she used a private e-mail server that was installed in her home originally for her husband, former president Bill Clinton. The server was physically guarded by the Secret Service, there were “numerous safeguards” in place, and there were “no security breaches.” The server will remain private, she said.
Shortly before Clinton’s news conference, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki announced the agency will make 55,000 pages of Clinton’s e-mails available on a website after a review that could take months.
“We will … release in one batch at the end of that review to ensure that standards are consistently applied,” Psaki said.
In a tweet on March 4, Clinton requested the e-mails be made public.
Separately, 300 pages of emails provided to the House Select Committee on Benghazi will be reviewed and released before the entire set is available, Psaki said. The department has said repeatedly that Clinton’s use of a private e-mail account was not prohibited if she kept records.
Clinton said that even if she had used a government e-mail account in addition to her personal e-mail, it would still have been her responsibility, under laws governing federal records, to determine which were work-related and needed to be preserved.
Although Democrats have said the issue is overblown, some urged her to speak out. “It’s only fair to say to Hillary Clinton, ‘Tell us your side of the story,’ ” Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democratic leader, said on MSNBC on Tuesday. “What did you put on this personal e-mail?”
The controversy over the emails drew attention away from Clinton’s speeches this month aimed at women’s rights and economic empowerment — a theme long expected to be part of her second try for the presidency.
At the U.N., Clinton was introduced as a “future president,” which drew applause. She recalled her remarks 20 years ago at a landmark U.N. conference, proclaiming: “Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.”
Clinton said progress has been made for women, but more needs to be done. “My passion for this fight burns as brightly today as it did 20 years ago.”
Original article here.