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Clinton: Media covered email server scandal ‘like it was Pearl Harbor’

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Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton lambasted the media’s coverage of her use of a private email server as secretary of State, arguing Wednesday that she did nothing wrong and charging that the media’s fixation on the matter allowed Republicans to effectively exploit it.

Speaking at an event with the technology website Recode, Clinton argued that most people viewed the issue as “the biggest nothing-burger ever.” While she said that it was a “mistake” that she wishes she could take back, she ultimately defended the decision she made at the time.

“If you went all the way back, doing something others had done before was no longer acceptable in the new environment from which we found ourselves,” she said. 

“There was no law against it, no rule against it, nothing of that sort. I didn’t break any rule. Nobody said, ‘Don’t do this.’ I was very responsible and not at all careless.”

{mosads}Her argument that she was not careless is a callback to comments made by then-FBI Director James Comey, who argued during a July 2016 press conference that while Clinton and her team were “extremely careless” in handling sensitive information sent over her server, he did not believe she should face charges. 

The comments are Clinton’s most direct rebuke of the media’s handling of the email situation to date. While she repeated some of the same points during an interview with CNN earlier this month, she had previously focused on the Russian hacks of her allies’ emails. And she also said at the time that she takes “absolute personal responsibility” for her election loss. 

Clinton accused Republicans of using the email server “very effectively for adverse political reasons,” lamenting Comey’s decision to effectively reopen the investigation in the final days of the race before later announcing that he found nothing new in freshly obtained emails. And noting that Recode had interviewed New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet on the same stage on Tuesday, she criticized the paper’s handling of the situation. 

“They covered it like it was Pearl Harbor,” she said. 

“But in their endorsement of me, they said, ‘This email thing, it was like a help desk issue.”

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