The White House learned in August that House Republicans knew Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonLet's 'reimagine' political corruption The Armageddon elections to come Poll: Trump leads 2024 Republican field with DeSantis in distant second MORE had been using her personal email to conduct official business as Secretary of State, Politico reported Friday.
It was then that officials at the State Department first noticed the personal email appeared in a document being provided to Republicans has part of their investigation of the Benghazi attacks, according to the report.
Administration officials reportedly deferred to Clinton’s personal staff, who decided not to tackle the issue publicly until it was made public this week by The New York Times. According to the Politico report, White House and Clinton aides knew that the story could cause trouble for the former secretary of State as she tries to launch a presidential campaign.
The Associated Press previously reported that the White House Counsel’s office was unaware of Clinton’s emails until it came up as part of the congressional investigation.
Gawker editor John Cook said on Thursday that he had mentioned the personal email address — email@example.com — in an email to now White House press secretary Josh Earnest in 2013. However, he was asking about Clinton’s communications with an adviser who did not work in an official capacity at the State Department.
Earnest has been besieged by questions all week about the emails and has tried to keep the controversy at an arm’s length from the White House.
He has repeatedly declined to say whether the White House believes Clinton broke ethics rules by using the email account and not immediately handing the emails over to the State Department.
The administration’s policy is that agency employees should use their government email accounts whenever possible because they are easier to archive for public records requests.