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Clinton expected to take questions on emails

10 March 2015, 20:22

New York - Hillary Rodham Clinton is expected to take questions from reporters on Tuesday afternoon to address her use of a private email account as secretary of state, following a week of scrutiny over the issue as she nears a decision on whether to run for president.

Clinton planned to discuss the email controversy following a speech at the United Nations, according to a person familiar with Clinton's thinking. The person spoke on condition of anonymity and was not authorized to speak on the record.

Also read: Hillary Clinton says 'not there yet' on women's equality

Clinton's email practices have raised questions about whether she fully complied with federal laws requiring government officials to preserve written communications involving official business. Republicans have said Clinton avoided transparency and committed an ethical lapse.

Clinton, who is the leading prospect for the Democratic nomination if she seeks the White House again, has not yet spoken publicly about her decision to conduct business with a private, non-government email account while serving as secretary of state and her use of a personal server linked to her New York hometown.

She ignored the issue at a forum Monday while fellow Democrats urged her to speak out, and predicted she would.

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."

At the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama indeed knew she was using a non-government 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 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.

Democrats have defended Clinton, but several senators from the party called on her to offer an explanation.

"She should come forward and explain the situation," Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said Tuesday on MSNBC. "I think it's only fair to say to Hillary Clinton: Tell us your side of the story, What did you put on this personal email?"

Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Clinton will probably address the matter and should. "I think that you're going to hear something from Secretary Clinton this week," she said Monday on MSNBC.

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.

- AP


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