IG: Clinton didn't want emails 'accessible'

IG: Clinton didn't want emails 'accessible'
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Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonArizona GOP Senate candidate defends bus tour with far-right activist Santorum: Mueller could avoid charges of McCarthyism by investigating DOJ, FBI Giuliani claims McGahn was a 'strong witness' for Trump MORE took steps to make sure her personal email account was not “accessible” while she was secretary of State, the State Department’s inspector general said on Wednesday.

In November 2010, longtime aide Huma Abedin suggested that Clinton consider using an official department email account or “releasing” her personal clintonemail.com address to the State Department.

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Clinton might want to consider the move, Abedin said, so her messages would not be “going to spam.”

But Clinton appeared to reject the proposal from her then-deputy chief of staff for operations.

“Let’s get separate address or device but I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible,” she responded.

The comment is likely to be used as ammunition for Clinton’s critics, who have assailed her exclusive use of a personal email account housed on a private server during her tenure as the nation’s top diplomat. Republicans have made the issue central to their attacks on her as she runs for the Democratic presidential nomination. 

Critics also point to other conversations that suggest that Clinton took steps to avoid federal recordkeeping requirements with the arrangement.

The 2010 exchange between Clinton and Abedin was revealed on Wednesday as part of an 83-page report from the watchdog office that said Clinton’s setup violated States Department rules. The messages are one piece of evidence “suggesting there was some awareness of Secretary Clinton’s practices” at the State Department despite statements from multiple senior officials that they were unaware.

The State Department does not have any record of the email exchange in its online database, so it is unclear how the conversation was captured. Clinton declined to be interviewed as part of the inspector general’s review, and Abedin did not respond to a request.

In a conference call with reporters, senior State Department officials appeared to suggest that the email was not handed over by Clinton, heightening questions about the extent of the messages that Clinton gave the department. In addition to the roughly 30,000 emails she returned to the federal government for record-keeping, Clinton also claimed to have deleted a similar number of emails from her machine, which she claimed were purely personal in nature.

“I don’t think I know exactly where we obtained that email,” one of the senior department officials said. “We do have it. It is in our custody. But as to why we wouldn’t have it from Secretary Clinton and what she turned over, I would have to refer you to her.”

Another official noted that the department has previously found other emails sent to or from Clinton that were not in the files that she handed over.

“That’s not inconsistent with what we’d expect,” the second official said.

--This report was updated at 1:21 p.m.