Hillary Clinton said that her use of a private email account while she was secretary of state was “a mistake” and that she was “sorry” during an interview with ABC on Tuesday.
“I do think I could have and should have done a better job answering questions earlier. I really didn’t perhaps appreciate the need to do that,” she said. “In retrospect, as I look back at it now, even though it was allowed, I should have used two accounts. One for personal, one for work-related emails.”
During her campaign she has seen a backlash and suffered drops in the polls, partially as a result of the email scandal – yet she has also spent months avoiding the issue. Here’s a timeline of Clinton’s responses to the issue since this spring:
10 March 2015
Facing questions at a United Nations press conference, Clinton said she had used a personal email account as a matter of convenience to limit the number of electronic devices she used, and that she had never sent classified information.
“I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. I’m certainly well aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.”
19 May 2015
Clinton called on the State Department to “expedite” the release of the emails after the department said it would release the emails in bulk by January 2016.
“I want those emails out. Nobody has a bigger interest in getting [the emails] released than I do. They are not mine; they belong to the State Department. But as much as they can expedite that process – that’s what I’m asking: please move as quickly as they possibly can.”
7 July 2015
Asked during an interview with CNN senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar about deleting 33,000 emails, Clinton said that everything she did “was permitted”. She explained that members of the government were aware of her use of a private email account. She said that her use of one device might have been “because I’m not the most technically capable person and wanted to make it as easy as possible”.
“This has been blown up with no basis in law or in fact. That’s fine. I get it. This is being, in effect, used by Republicans in the Congress.”
She spoke about her efforts to be transparent with the State Department by providing them with 55,000 pages of emails despite the fact that she “had no obligation to do any of that”.
“I didn’t have to turn over anything. I chose to turn over 55,000 pages because I wanted to go above and beyond what was expected of me because I knew the vast majority of everything that was official already was in the State Department system. And now I think it’s kind of fun because people get a real-time, behind-the-scenes look at what I was emailing about and what I was communicating about.”
28 July 2015
Speaking in Winterset, Iowa, Clinton denied mishandling classified emails, saying that the controversy stemmed from disagreement among various parts of the government over what should or should not be publicly released.
“I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received.”
14 August 2015
Appearing on Iowa Public Radio: Morning Edition, Clinton reiterated that she had never sent any emails marked classified, and that she acted in the same way as her predecessors.
“I did what other secretaries of state had done. I was permitted to and used a personal email. Obviously in retrospect, given all the concerns that have been raised, it would have been, probably, smarter not to.”
Later that day, during a Democratic fundraiser dinner in Iowa, Clinton made reference to the email scandal while speaking about the app Snapchat, which sends images that disappear in 10 seconds or less.
“You may have seen that I recently launched a Snapchat account. I love it. I love it. Those messages disappear all by themselves.”
18 August 2015
Clinton defended herself against suggestions of misconduct at a press conference in Las Vegas in her use of a private email server, saying again that what she did was legal. She said the dispute was largely between government agencies over timing and classification protocols.
“This has nothing to do with me. This has nothing to do with the fact that my account was personal. It’s the process by which the government, and sometimes in disagreement between various agencies of the government, make decisions about what can and cannot be disclosed.”
4 September 2015
During an interview with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC, Clinton skirted around an apology when asked if she wanted “to apologize to the American people”. She said that her email decision “wasn’t the best choice” but reminded Mitchell that “it was allowed and it was fully above board”.
“And now the State Department has everything that they could have. At the end of the day, I’m sorry that this has been confusing to people and has raised a lot of questions. But there are answers to all of these questions.”
Clinton said that she “was not thinking a lot” when she started as secretary of state as “there was so much work to be done”. When Mitchell asked if that raises judgment questions, Clinton said she did not believe so.
7 September 2015
Asked by the Associated Press why she would’t directly apologize for using her personal email account, Clinton said:
“What I did was allowed. It was allowed by the State Department. The State Department has confirmed that.”
The former first lady apologized the next day during an interview with ABC.
This article titled “Hillary Clinton addresses email ‘mistake’: a timeline of her responses” was written by Ellen Brait and Mahita Gajanan in New York, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 9th September 2015 22.33 UTC