Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday “it would have been better” if she had used a government email account while she was head of the State Department.
She addressed the press and took questions following her keynote speech at a United Nations women’s event.
“I saw it as a matter of convenience and it was allowed. Others had done it,” she said, adding that her successor, John Kerry, was actually the first Secretary of State to rely primarily on a state.gov email address.
The presumptive presidential candidate continued, “There were over 60,000 [emails] in total sent and received. Half were work-related and went to the State Department, half were personal that were not in any way related to my work. I had no reason to save them, but that was my decision.”
The New York Times reported last week that Clinton only used her personal email during her stint as Secretary of State, a potentially illegal act, according to a swarm of Republican and Democratic pundits.
Prior to Tuesday’s press conference, the only comment Clinton had given about the controversy was on Twitter.
“I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible,” Clinton wrote last week.
Fielding questions from reporters concerning the propriety of the use of a personal email account, Clinton was firm, responding, “The guidelines were clear and the State Department was clear: It’s the employee’s responsibility to determine which is personal and which is work-related. I’m very confident in the process.”
That process involved a request from the State department in early fall for all former Secretaries of State to assist in providing their work-related emails for review.
“When the search was conducted, we were asking that any email be identified and preserved which could potentially be related to government business,” she added. “We have more than met the request of the Sttate department.”
Calls for an investigation into the emails is mounting among Congressional Republicans — including Texas Senator Ted Cruz and South Carolina Representative Trey Gowdy — but Clinton insists she did not break any rules.
“The laws and regulations in effect when I was Secretary of State allowed me to use my email for work,” she said. “That is undisputed.”
Clinton inevitably addressed the potential impact the controversy will have on her anticipated 2016 White House run.
“With respect to any sort of future issues, I trust the American people to make their decisions about political and public matters,” she said. “I feel like I’ve taken unprecedented steps to provide these work-related emails and they’re going to be in the public domain. Americans will find them interesting and I look forward to having a discussion about that.”
She also assured reporters that no sensitive materials were ever sent or received on her account.
“I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email,” she said. “There is no classified material in my emails.”