In a rare, lengthy national TV interview, Hillary Clinton said she is sorry for the confusion her email practices while she served as secretary of state have caused.
“At the end of the day, I am sorry that this has been confusing to people and has raised a lot of questions, but there are answers to all these questions,” Clinton said. “And I take responsibility and it wasn’t the best choice.”
But Clinton declined to apologize for her decision to use private email for government business during an interview with NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell on Friday.
“It would have been better to have two separate accounts to begin with,” she said.
Clinton’s exclusive use of a personal email account, routed through a private server at her Chappaqua, N.Y., home when she served as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, has become the focus of multiple inquiries by the FBI, a pair of inspectors general and Congress.
Revelations that her emails included classified “top secret” information has prompted questions about her judgment and motive for actions that potentially led to national security risks. At the FBI’s request, she turned over her computer server after months of resistance.
The expanding inquiry threatens to further erode Clinton’s standing as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. Since her reliance on private email was revealed in March, polls in crucial swing states show that increasing numbers of voters say Clinton is not honest and trustworthy, in part, because of her use of private emails.
“Certainly, it doesn’t make me feel good,” she said of the polls. “But I am very confident that by the time this campaign has run it’s course, people will know that what I have been saying is accurate.”
Clinton has in the past laughed off questions by reporters on the email issues. But in recent weeks, she and her campaign have pushed back aggressively and have more seriously answered questions. She plans to do more national interview.
She told Mitchell that she used a personal email account as senator from New York and didn’t stop to think about doing anything differently when she became secretary in early 2009.
“I did all my business on my personal email [in the Senate],” Clinton said. “I was not thinking a lot when I got in [to the State Department]. There was so much work to be done. We had so many problems around the world. I didn’t really stop and think what kind of email system will there be.”
“This was fully above board, people knew I was using a personal email, I did it for convenience. I sent emails that I thought were work related to people’s dot gov accounts,” she said.