Hillary prepares to meet the press

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHarris favored as Biden edges closer to VP pick Ron Johnson subpoenas documents from FBI director as part of Russia origins probe Juan Williams: Older voters won't forgive Trump for COVID MORE on Tuesday afternoon will speak publicly for the first time about her use of a personal email account while serving as secretary of State.

With pressure building in the Democratic Party for her to address the controversy, Clinton is scheduled to address reporters at the United Nations in what will be her first press conference in nearly two years.

Nick Merrill, a Clinton spokesman, confirmed in an email that Clinton would hold a “brief press conference” following her 1:30 p.m. speech at a United Nations event on women’s empowerment.

Merrill did not specify what would be on the agenda, but she is sure to be asked about the escalating controversy regarding her email account.

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The press conference will be Clinton’s first since leaving the State Department, and could provide a rare chance for reporters to ask questions of the presumed front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.

Questions have been mounting about Clinton’s emails since last week, when The New York Times revealed that she relied solely on a personal account while serving as the nation’s top diplomat.

Aides to Clinton provided 55,000 pages of her emails to the State Department two months ago. Before then, all of Clinton’s email correspondence at State had been kept beyond the reach of public records laws, because the government did not have access to them. It appears that some emails were withheld, though the number is not known, nor is the motivation for not providing them.

Clinton’s emails were reportedly routed through a private email server registered to her home in New York, potentially through a setup that experts warn might have been vulnerable to foreign spies.

Reporters are likely to press Clinton as to why she chose to use the private account, when she plans to release her emails and whether she intends to comply with a new subpoena from House Republicans investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, when she led the State Department.

But Clinton’s choice of venue for the press conference could limit the number of reporters who are able to attend, given the rigorous credentialing process for media at the U.N.

Merrill said Clinton’s team is “working to help with access” to the press conference, and told On Media that his team had been working "into the wee hours of the morning” to organize the event.

"It’s important to us that those who want to get in and cover the events can do so," Merrill said.

For Clinton, the press conference is a warm-up for what many expect will be the launch of her presidential campaign in the spring.

The former secretary of State, senator and first lady is eager to turn the page on the controversy, which has rattled Democrats and delighted Republicans, who see it as a reflection of her vulnerabilities as a presidential candidate.

Republicans in Congress have gone on the attack, with Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdySenate GOP set to ramp up Obama-era probes More than two dozen former prosecutors, judges, active trial lawyers support DOJ decision to dismiss Michael Flynn case Sunday shows preview: As states loosen social distancing restrictions, lawmakers address dwindling state budgets MORE (R-S.C.) issuing subpoenas to Clinton and her aides for any emails related to the Benghazi terrorist assault.

Gowdy has said he cannot complete his investigation without complete email records, and has said Clinton should not be the one to decide which of her emails are released to the public.

“You do not need a law degree to understand how troubling this is,” Gowdy said at a press conference last week.

Republican presidential hopefuls have also teed off on the emails as they try to position themselves as the anti-Hillary in 2016.

A spokeswoman for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, for example, told The Hill that Clinton “intentionally circumvented federal law.”

Republicans have also been digging through Clinton’s past statements, to accuse her of hypocrisy.
 
Ahead of her press conference, the Republican political group America Rising posted a video of Clinton in 2007 criticizing the “secret White House email accounts” owned by some White House officials to bypass record-keeping requirements. 
 
Democrats have joined in the calls for Clinton to address the email controversy head-on.

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Negotiators signal relief bill stuck, not dead White House officials, Democrats spar over legality, substance of executive orders Sunday shows - Trump coronavirus executive orders reverberate MORE (D-Ill.), the upper chamber's minority whip, said Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he wants to “hear her explanation.” On Sunday, Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Yates spars with GOP at testy hearing MORE (D-Calif.) cautioned that “silence is going to hurt” her.
 
“What I would like is for her to come forward and say just what the situation is,” Feinstein said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Democrats on the House Benghazi Committee have mounted the most vigorous defense of Clinton in recent days, portraying the investigation as a politically motivated hit job.

“It appears that the select committee has given up any pretense of a legitimate investigation, and now has just become a surrogate for the Republican National Committee,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the top Democrat on the Benghazi committee, said in a statement.

Correct the Record, a rapid-response group that supports Clinton, has also sent out memos defending her.

The memos note that Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryRon Johnson subpoenas documents from FBI director as part of Russia origins probe The Memo: Biden faces balancing act Budowsky: Trump October surprise could devastate GOP MORE is the first chief diplomat to “rely primarily” on an official State email account, and says Clinton followed all protocol by turning over the emails when requested by State. 

— Updated at 1:25 p.m.