Aide: Obama gave 'entirely factual' answer about Clinton email server

Aide: Obama gave 'entirely factual' answer about Clinton email server
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President Obama gave an “entirely factual” response when asked last year about how he discovered Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFederal workers stuck it out with Trump — now, we're ready to get back to work Biden soars as leader of the free world Intercept DC bureau chief says Biden picks are 'same people' from Obama years MORE used a private email server as secretary of State, his top spokesman said Tuesday. 
Obama’s claim that he first learned about Clinton’s server “through news reports” was called into question again after an email chain released Tuesday by WikiLeaks showed a top Clinton aide expressing concern in March 2015 that the president might be accused of lying. 
"What the president said was an entirely factual response,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters during gaggle in Los Angeles, where the president was attending fundraisers.
"I recognize that some of the president’s critics have attempted to construct some type of conspiracy about the communication between the president and the secretary of state,” Earnest continued. 
“But they’ve failed to put forward a conspiracy that withstands any scrutiny, so I guess they are back to recycling thoroughly debunked conspiracies."
The White House has repeatedly insisted that Obama did not have knowledge of Clinton’s unusual email server, even though the two did communicate by email during her time at the State Department. 
But Clinton’s allies privately expressed concern about Obama’s claim during a March 2015 CBS News interview that he first learned through media reports that the secretary of State used an email system “outside the U.S. government for official business,” as reporter Bill Plante described it while questioning the president. 
“[L]ooks like POTUS just said he found out HRC was using her personal email when he saw it in the news,” Clinton spokesman Josh Schwerin told other allies in a March 7, 2015, email published Tuesday by WikiLeaks.
“[W]e need to clean this up - he has emails from her - they do not say state.gov,” responded former Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills.
At a White House press briefing two days after the email exchange, Earnest said that Obama knew about Clinton’s email address because he sent messages to it. But he said the president was unaware of the exact nature of the server or the extent to which she used it. 
"The president did trade e-mails with Secretary Clinton, not a large number of them,” the spokesman repeated Tuesday. 
“Of course the president had possession of Secretary Clinton’s email address, but he did not have any knowledge of where her server was located or what sort of arrangements had been made to store her email."
The spokesman said it's unfair to assume the president knew Clinton was using a private server based on her email address, since the president's own sensitive email messages are not sent from a typical-sounding government email address such as "bobama@whitehouse.gov."
Earnest also cast doubt on the veracity of the emails, which were hacked from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s private email account. A private security firm blamed Russian intelligence for the hack, although U.S. government officials have not said whether that is the case. 
"I can't verify the integrity of these emails," he said, noting the messages were "stolen" and released as part of an effort "to undermine our democracy."