Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonAmbassador's sister: I don't blame Clinton for Benghazi Clinton to Trump supporters: 'Don’t look for easy answers' Seven key findings in the Benghazi report MORE on Friday declined on two occasions to apologize for using a personal email account and server while serving as secretary of State.
In a rare national interview, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell asked Clinton if she was sorry that she had bucked traditional protocol and routed her work email through a private email account and server.
"People in the government knew I was using a personal account,” Clinton said. “But it would have been better if I had two separate accounts to begin with, and I’m doing all I can now to be transparent about what I had on my work related emails. They will be coming out. I wish it was faster. I’m frustrated it’s taking a while, but there’s a process that needs to be followed.”
Clinton argued that she has since “been as transparent” as she could, requesting the release of 55,000 pages of emails, turning over her work-related emails and server for review and requesting the opportunity to testify before Congress.
Clinton will face the Select Committee on Benghazi in October, and the email controversy will likely be a central focus of Republicans at the hearing.
On Friday, Clinton again insisted that she never sent or received emails that were marked classified at the time they passed through her server.
“We dealt with classified material on a totally different system,” she said. “I dealt with it in person or on secure phone lines. I had a travelling technical team go with me and they set up tents so that when I was travelling, anything that was classified would be protected from prying eyes. I take classified material very, very seriously and we followed all the rules on classified materials.”
Clinton said her lawyers went through her email to determine what was work-related and what was personal, and that a thumb drive with the work emails was kept “under lock and key.” She argued that the emails her lawyers kept were so inclusive that the State Department returned 1,200 of them as unrelated to her work as secretary.
Clinton did say she was sorry for what she said was confusion the situation has caused among voters.
“At the end of the day, I’m sorry this has been confusing to people and has raised a lot of questions,” Clinton said. “But there are answers to all of these questions and I will continue to provide them, and they’ve been confirmed and affirmed by other State Department officials, and eventually I’ll get to testify in public, and I’m sure it will be a long and grueling time there, but all of the questions will be answered.”
Clinton’s presidential campaign has been dogged by her decision to use a personal email address and server while serving in President Obama's Cabinet.
The FBI is investigating the security of the email set-up, including whether the server was ever compromised by foreign nationals.
Complicating the matter for Clinton is the fact that Bryan Pagliano, a former aide who helped set up and manage the private email server, is reportedly not cooperating with State Department and FBI investigations.
He has refused to be interviewed, and his lawyers have said that if he’s called in front of the of the House Select Committee on Benghazi he will assert his constitutional right under the Fifth Amendment not to answer self-incriminating questions.
Pagliano’s lawyers have said the “current political environment” has provoked their decision not to cooperate. Clinton’s defenders and many Democrats argue that the investigation into the private email account and server is politically motivated and meant to damage Clinton’s presidential aspirations.
The controversy appears to be damaging Clinton’s standing among voters. A strong majority of voters say Clinton is not honest or trustworthy.
When asked by Mitchell about the negative views of the public, Clinton said, “That certainly doesn’t make me feel good. But I’m confident by the time this campaign has run its course, people will know that what I’ve been saying is accurate and I’ll have a chance to make that case in front of the entire world with the Congressional committee.”
Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFormer Gillibrand aide wins NY House primary Sanders-backed candidate wins NY House primary The Trail 2016: 11 hours, 800 pages, 0 changed minds MORE has emerged as a legitimate threat for the Democratic nomination from the left. He’s pulling huge crowds on the campaign trail and has made gains in the polls in the critical early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
Still, Clinton remains the strong favorite to win the nomination. She has a huge lead in the national polls and the backing of essentially the entirety of the Democratic establishment.
Clinton told Mitchell on Friday that despite the controversy, she doesn’t feel the nomination is slipping away from her.
“I don’t feel that,” Clinton said. “I feel I have questions to answer which I intend to do at very turn…and will also keep making the case for the presidency and what I stand for and what I will fight for and what I have always fought for.”