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Clinton steers clear of email controversy _ for now

Clinton ignores email controversy, but may address the issue soon

Clinton steers clear of email controversy _ for now

NEW YORK (AP) -- Hillary Rodham Clinton may soon address her email practices at the State Department following a week of scrutiny and few signs that it will go away.

The potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate ignored the issue at a forum Monday while fellow Democrats urged her to speak out -- and predicted she would -- about her decision to conduct business while secretary of state in a private email account. Republicans are ramping up their attention on the issue.

Clinton was considering holding a news conference in New York within days to address the email controversy directly, according to a person familiar with her thinking. The person spoke on condition of anonymity and was not authorized to speak publicly.

The possibility of a news conference was first reported by Politico.

At the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama indeed knew she was using a nongovernment account during her tenure. Obama had indicated earlier that he only learned of that from recent news reports.

Earnest said the president actually learned from those news reports of Clinton's privately run email server, but was familiar with her private account earlier because the two had exchanged emails when she was in office. Obama did not know at the time that she was using private email exclusively, Earnest said.

Clinton spoke Monday at a carefully choreographed two-hour event involving her No Ceilings project at the Clinton Foundation, highlighting economic and educational opportunities for women and girls. She took no questions. When she sat down to lead more informal conversations with invited speakers, participants appeared to be reading from teleprompters.

The Republican National Committee used the vacuum to keep the pressure on Clinton, noting a State Department policy requiring all outgoing employees to declare that they had turned over all unclassified job-related documents to responsible officials before leaving.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement the "fact that Hillary Clinton did not abide by the same rules her State Department employees had to comply with is just the latest example of how the Clintons think the rules don't apply to them."

Clinton left the State Department in early 2013. It was not immediately clear if Clinton signed the required separation statement declaring that she had turned over all job-related material, but State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the secretary of state is supposed to follow such department policies. A Clinton spokesman did not immediately comment.

Clinton is under scrutiny over whether she fully complied with federal laws requiring government officials to preserve written communications involving official business. She used her own email server, traced to her hometown in Chappaqua, New York, giving herself more control over her emails.

Democrats have defended her, but Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California made waves Sunday when she urged Clinton to offer a detailed explanation. "From this point on, the silence is going to hurt her," Feinstein said.

Last week, Clinton said in a Twitter message that she wanted her emails released by the State Department as soon as possible -- but did not address why she does not put them out herself immediately. Clinton's spokesmen and the State Department have said she never received or transmitted classified information on her private email account, in which case there would be no concerns that disclosure of her messages could compromise national security.

The State Department is reviewing 55,000 pages of emails that she has turned over and Republicans in Congress have said they plan to review her email practices.

Clinton is approaching a public decision on a 2016 presidential campaign and remains the leading prospect for the Democratic nomination if she seeks the White House again.

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Thomas reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Steve Peoples in Washington contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-09-23 20:05 GMT+08:00