A former top strategist to President Obama says that Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonJohn Lewis plays with matches, Trump ignites inferno John Lewis, Democrats are boycotting America, not inauguration GOP rep: DNC hacking 'most successful covert action' in Russian history MORE must move quickly to answer a growing number of questions about exclusively using personal email while secretary of State.
"Why did she used a separate email? How did she secure that email? Was there another email through which she communicated with people?” Axelrod asked.
“By not answering these questions, they are allowing this story to fester in ways that are unhelpful. So lack of speed kills in this case," he added.
The White House has sought to distance itself from the Clinton controversy that erupted this week, with press secretary Josh Earnest deferring to the State Department on the email-related questions that dominated the two press briefings since news broke late Monday.
Earnest said Wednesday that he couldn't account for conversations between the State Department and White House officials regarding email policy, adding that "the expectation of the president is that everybody throughout his administration is acting in compliance with the Federal Records Act."
The Associated Press reported Thursday that the White House counsel was not aware at the time that Clinton used a personal email address during her four years at State, which ended in 2013 — something inconsistent with guidance given to different agencies.
Axelrod noted the "rigorous policy" during his time at the White House. "People had private email, but government business was to be conducted on government email," he said on MSNBC.
Previous Axelrod quips about Clinton have irritated her allies. During an MSNBC appearance earlier this month, he said expected campaign chairman John Podesta "to get control of the Clinton operation."
The New York Times reported Monday that Clinton exclusively used a private email account, and her aides have retroactively selected and handed over about 55,000 pages of documents to the State Department for archiving. The House Select Committee on Benghazi has issued subpoenas for other emails from her private server.
Clinton tweeted late Wednesday night that she had asked the State Department to release her emails.