WASHINGTON — Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday answered questions for the first time about her use of a private email system while serving as the nation’s top diplomat, a story that’s disrupted the plans for the launch of her expected campaign for president in 2016.
Here are five things to know about what she said and how others reacted.
PERSONAL EMAIL WAS ALLOWED, SAFE, CONVENIENT“I fully complied with every rule that I was governed by,” Clinton told reporters after a speech to a United Nations conference on women’s empowerment.
Government rules allow officials to use personal email accounts, but also mandate that all official documents be preserved. Clinton said her work-related emails went to other officials who were using government email addresses, and those would have been saved.
She said the computer hosting her email system was physically housed at the family’s estate in Chappaqua, New York. The U.S. Secret Service protects that property, she said.
Finally, Clinton offered a practical reason for using one email account for her work and her personal correspondence: She did not want to carry a government and a personal smartphone to read two separate email accounts.
BUT IN HINDSIGHT…“Looking back, it would’ve been better for me to use two separate phones and two email accounts. I thought using one device would be simpler, and obviously, it hasn’t worked out that way,” Clinton said.
Clinton has faced questions about her use of a private email account since last week, following reports she used a private email address and ran her own server. Aides initially argued the controversy would pass. It did not.
“I think it’s only fair to say to Hillary Clinton: ‘Tell us your side of the story,’” Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said Tuesday on MSNBC. “What did you put on this personal email?”
Asked about the political impact, she said, “I trust the American people to make their decisions about political and public matters.”
PERSONAL EMAILS WILL STAY PRIVATE, BECAUSE THEY’RE GONE
“No one wants their personal emails made public, and I think most people understand that and respect that privacy,” Clinton said.
Clinton said her private emails contained plans for her mother’s funeral, her daughter’s wedding and her yoga sessions — none relevant to her job as secretary of state. Also, she deleted them.
“In going through the emails, there were over 60,000 in total, sent and received,” Clinton said. “About half were work-related and went to the State Department, and about half were personal that were not in any way related to my work. I had no reason to save them.”
THE STATE DEPARTMENT HAS THE OFFICIAL EMAILS
“I took the unprecedented step of asking that the State Department make all my work-related emails public for everyone to see,” Clinton said, echoing a tweet she posted last week about the messages.
Clinton has turned over her work-related emails to the State Department, which said it will review and release the messages. The State Department said Tuesday they will be published online after that review process, which will take months.
REPUBLICANS WILL KEEP ASKING QUESTIONS
In a statement, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said, “Because only Hillary Clinton controls her personal email account and admitted she deleted many of her emails, no one but Hillary Clinton knows if she handed over every relevant email.”
But she will be asked about it again. South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of a House committee investigating the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, said Tuesday he will call Clinton to appear before his committee at least twice.
Gowdy said the committee wants to establish it has a complete record of Clinton’s time at the State Department, and one appearance is needed to “clear up” Clinton’s role in using personal email to conduct official business.
PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press
Associated Press writer Matthew Daly contributed to this report.