Likely Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton will hold a press conference today in New York to answer questions about why she used a private email account during her tenure as secretary of state.
Her decision comes after she has remained silent for weeks about a pair of controversies -- potential conflicts of interest over her foundation’s decision to accept foreign donations and using private email to conduct government business.
The press conference is expected to be after a speech at the United Nations meeting on women’s rights. The unusual venue limits access to reporters who are not credentialed to cover the United Nations.
“She and her team had perhaps hundreds – if not thousands – of options for a venue for today’s press conference on her secret email scandal, but Clinton instead chose one of the most difficult places for reporters to get access to: the UN,” the Republican National Committe said in a blast email. “Media credentials must be requested 24 hours in advance at the UN, but Hillary Clinton and her team gave just a few hours’ notice.”
Her last press conference was 229 days ago, according to the RNC, which has kept a tally of the number of days.
Critics argue that Clinton’s silence means she must be hiding something, while supporters stress that she should not be forced to respond to every attack lodged against her, especially since she isn’t even an official candidate in 2016 yet.
It’s too early to determine what the impact will be, since some of the issues are still unfolding. But a McClatchy-Marist poll on Friday found that potential Republican presidential rivals have inched closer to Clinton in 2016 matchups. The former secretary of state, senator and first lady fell below the crucial 50 percent level of support in one-on-one match-ups against Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, and was barely above that benchmark against Rand Paul, Rick Perry and Ted Cruz.
Clinton has given two public speeches in the last week, but she did not address the issues while appearing at an event held by Emily’s List, a group that backs Democratic women who favor abortion rights, or speaking to students at the University of Miami about the rights of women and girls.
On Monday, Clinton joined her daughter, Chelsea Clinton, philanthropist Melinda Gates and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai to unveil a report on women and girls at an event for No Ceilings, a program the Gates Foundation and the Clinton Foundation funds that promotes opportunities for girls. But she said little about anything else.
Former President Bill Clinton, who also appeared at the Miami event on behalf of the Clinton Global Initiative, addressed the acceptance of millions of dollars in donations from foreign governments, including during his wife’s State Department tenure. “I believe they do a lot more good than harm,” he said.
Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported the Clinton Foundation began accepting more foreign donations after Clinton left the secretary of state’s office, raising questions about potential conflicts of interest.
In mid-February, McClatchy reported that more than 40 percent of the foundation’s top donors are based in foreign countries. The charity has received millions of dollars in donations from foreign governments, businesses, individuals and non-governmental organizations around the globe, according to an analysis of 10 years of contributions by McClatchy.
Last week, The New York Times reported that Clinton used a personal email account to conduct government business during her four years at the State Department, which violated Obama administration guidance.
In December, Clinton turned over 55,000 pages of personal emails to the State Department after her aides reviewed them and selected which pages to hand over.
After the furor dominated headlines for two days, and a House committee investigating a fatal 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, subpoenaed relevant emails, Clinton issued a statement via Twitter after 11 p.m.
“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,” she tweeted.