Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) on Friday dismissed media coverage of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump defends indicted GOP congressman GOP lawmaker says he expects to be indicted over FBI investigation Why it's time for conservatives to accept the 2020 election results and move on MORE's use of a private email server, saying the controversy is "nonsense."
"There's really no substance to this story at all," Dean said during an appearance on "MSNBC Live" with host Craig Melvin, blasting the "media frenzy" surrounding her use of private email as secretary of State.
"If the argument is that Hillary Clinton committed treason then let's have that discussion. This is innuendo, this is nonsense. There was no dishonesty. She did not send any emails marked classified," Dean said. "This is a classic press feeding frenzy fed, I might add, by the right wing."
Dean, also a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has appeared regularly on TV programs defending Clinton on the issue amid her 2016 Democratic presidential bid.
But his latest comments come after a federal judge on Thursday said Clinton did not comply with government policy when she used a private email server during her time as secretary of State.
"We wouldn't be here today had the employee followed government policy," U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan said during a hearing, apparently referring to Clinton's email arrangement.
"It's not clear that that's true, actually," Dean said Friday on MSNBC. "With all due respect to the federal judge, the federal judge doesn't have any better idea what's going on here than anyone else. And violating policy is not violating the law."
Clinton's campaign has blamed the media for contributing to the email story, but many on the left worry that the lingering controversy could damage her 2016 bid.
One Democratic lawmaker faulted Clinton's handling of the issue this week, saying it could "upend" her campaign.
"I just never feel I have a grasp of what the facts are. But clearly, she has handled it poorly from the first day," said Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.).
But Dean said that Clinton would be able to put the controversy behind her eventually.
"Right now the press is very frustrating to her. I've been in that position. I'm very sympathetic with what she's going through. She's going to have to weather this storm. It'll go away, because there's no substance to it, and it'll probably go away right around the time of the caucuses," he said.
— Julian Hattem contributed