Hillary Rodham Clinton urged the State Department to release the emails she wrote from a private email account as secretary of state, weighing in on a controversy that has generated negative attention this week for the likely Democratic presidential candidate.
In a tweet late Wednesday, Clinton said, “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.”
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in response to Clinton’s tweet that the department will review for release the emails Clinton provided. Harf said the department will conduct the review as quickly as possible, but said it could take some time to review, given the sheer volume of emails.
Clinton’s public comment Wednesday came after she didn’t address the matter during a speech on Tuesday, and she still hasn’t explained why she used her own server and eschewed a State Department email address.
Her use of a personal email account for State Department business has prompted questions about her transparency, and Republicans criticized her over it.
At the White House Thursday, a person familiar with the matter said the counsel’s office there was not aware at the time Clinton was secretary of state that she relied solely on personal email, and found out only as part of the congressional investigation into the Benghazi attack.
The person said Clinton’s exclusive reliance on personal email as the nation’s top diplomat was inconsistent with the guidance given to agencies that official business should be conducted on official email accounts. Once the State Department turned over some of her messages in connection with the Benghazi investigation after she left office, making it apparent she had not followed the guidance, the White House counsel’s office asked the department to ensure that her email records were properly archived, according to the person who spoke on a condition of anonymity without authorization to speak on the record.
The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz, plans to investigate whether Clinton may have violated federal requirements that written communications of officials are preserved. The committee will join with a special committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, which issued subpoenas Wednesday for Clinton’s emails when she was secretary of state.
Since the revelations surfaced this week, the Obama administration has been pummeled by endless questions about Clinton, who hasn’t formally announced a run. In the absence of an official campaign to defend her, the White House press secretary has been put in the awkward position of being a de facto Clinton spokesman and the most public voice speaking on her behalf.
Clinton’s team said this week she acted no differently from her predecessors at the State Department who also used private email addresses.
Last year, Clinton provided the State Department 55,000 pages of emails after the department asked her and other former secretaries for records that should be preserved. Yet her team alone decided what would be turned over and should not, without any outside control or clarity on how those decisions were made.
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