Rumored presidential hopeful addresses email controversy in press conference, says private account was for ‘convenience’
On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton addressed the controversy around her private email account head-on, appearing at her first public press conference since the New York Times broke the news that she had used a personal email account for work-related matters during her tenure as Secretary of State.
Speaking at the United Nations on Tuesday afternoon, Clinton conceded that it “might have been smarter” to use two devices that would allow her to access a work email account and a personal email account.
Yet Clinton also described her use of a private email address as a matter of “convenience” and a way to avoid carrying two devices. She said she had never used her personal email to discuss any classified information.
Clinton said her server would remain private. She also said she had discarded thousands of personal emails, such as communications related to her daughter’s wedding or her mother’s funeral, but she insisted she had given the State Department all relevant emails.
“Everything that would be in any way connected to work is now in possession in the State Department,” Clinton said.
Clinton spoke shortly after delivering remarks at a women’s empowerment event at the United Nations. She then made her way to a nearby hallway where dozens of reporters and photographers were awaiting her first formal news conference since leaving the State Department in early 2013.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. — head of a select House committee investigating the circumstances surrounding the 2012 attack on an American consulate in Benghazi, Libya — said on Tuesday that he would call on Clinton to appear before the committee “at least twice.”
“The first appearance will be to clear up her role and resolve issues surrounding her exclusive use of personal email to conduct official business,” he said in a statement released shortly after Clinton’s press conference. “This is necessary to establish our Committee has a complete record with respect to Secretary Clinton’s time in office.”
He also criticized Clinton for creating “more questions than answers” during the press conference.
Before the question-and-answer session, Clinton’s only comment on the matter had been a late-night tweet last week saying she wanted the State Department to the release her emails.
Clinton served as the nation’s top diplomat throughout President Barack Obama’s first term. In late 2014, nearly two years after she left the administration, she turned over 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department in response to an agency request.
The department says it will take several months to review the material. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday that once the review is complete, the emails will be posted online for the public to see. Passages revealing anything from trade secrets to sensitive national security information could be redacted, in keeping with Freedom of Information Act guidelines.
Al Jazeera and The Associated Press