Hillary Clinton brushes off ABC’s George Stephanopoulos (who was coincidentally, her husband’s 1992 campaign communications director) when he asks if she accepts the findings of the Obama administration’s state department inspector general’s report which said that the practice of using a private server in her house to store all of her official government communications broke multiple rules. The report found that such actions not only violated Obama administration transparency rules regarding the preservation of official government communications, but was also not allowed under State Dept. rules.
At least some of the emails have been deleted permanently, making it impossible for people to search for potential conflicts of interest between Hillary’s activities at the state department and Bill’s activities at the Clinton Foundation.
Clinton does not explicitly deny anything, or make any solid claims to defend her actions, but after asking three separate times if she will accept the report’s conculsions, Stephanopoulos surrenders: “So I’ll take it that you don’t accept their conclusion.”
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Madam Secretary, on the e-mail issue, as you know, the State Department inspector general report was quite tough on your practices and it concluded — and I want to show it right here — that Secretary Clinton had an obligation to discuss using her personal e-mail account to conduct official business with their offices and, according to these officials, diplomatic security and the information resource management offices did not and would not approve your exclusive reliance on a personal e-mail account to conduct department business because of the restrictions in the foreign affairs manual and the security risks in doing so.
Do you now accept their conclusion that your exclusive use of a personal account was not allowed, that you broke State Department rules?
HILLARY CLINTON: Look George, I thought that the report actually made it clear that the practice I used was used by other Secretaries [of state], other high-ranking State Dept. officials…
If I had to do it over again, I certainly wouldn’t, be I think that the rules were not clarified until after I had left, because it had been the practice of others… What I did was inkeeping with others’ practices.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But, you were the only one who had exclusive use a personal account… they were very very clear—
CLINTON: Well, George, I have to tell you that — that, you know, I — I will say it was a mistake. I would not do it again. But I think that the rules were not clarified until after I had left and the first secretary of State to use a government email account was John Kerry, some months into his tenure. Those are the facts.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But the — the reports — so you don’t accept the conclusions of the report, because they say you were unmindful of the rules.
CLINTON: Everybody in the department knew that I was e-mailing from a personal address. Hundreds of people knew it. People around the government knew it. And, uh, you know, that was what the practice had been and that’s what I did, as well.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So I’ll take it that you don’t accept their conclusion.
Just one other question on this.
Has there — have you had any contact yet with the FBI, you or your agents, over this matter?
CLINTON: I — I have not been asked to come in for an interview. I’ve said I am more than willing since last August and I would like to do that sooner instead of later and get this matter wrapped up and behind us.