Obama praises Clinton for asking State Department to disclose emails
President Obama says he found out that Hillary Clinton used a private, nongovernment email account during her tenure as secretary of state through media reports.
Obama said in an interview with CBS News Saturday that he was glad Clinton decided to disclose those emails, while maintaining his stance that his administration is the most transparent in the nation’s history, while saying Clinton “has been an outstanding public servant.”
“The policy of my administration is to encourage transparency, and that’s why my emails — the BlackBerry that I carry around — all those records are available and archived and I’m glad that Hillary has instructed that those emails that had to do with official business had to be disclosed.”
Obama’s revelation comes after the White House struggled Friday to respond to questions over Clinton’s private email use. The heat was turned up after Politico reported that top White House officials knew in August that Clinton was conducting official government business on her personal email.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said a few officials noticed Clinton wasn’t using a .gov email address. However, he did not say when they noticed and if it raised any red flags. Earnest also brought up the notion that he would not be surprised if Obama learned about it from “newspapers.”
According to Politico, the White House, State Department and Clinton’s personal office knew in August that the former secretary of state had used a private email to conduct official business. The State Department became aware while the agency was preparing a batch of 15,000 emails requested by House Republicans in the Benghazi investigation.
“State Department officials noticed that some of the 15,000 pages of documents included a personal email address for Clinton, and State and White House officials conferred on how to handle the revelation,” Politico wrote. “But those involved deferred to Clinton’s aides, and they decided not to respond.
It is unclear who at the White House did the conferring. Jamal Ware, spokesman for the Republican-led Select Committee on Benghazi, confirmed that he noticed Clinton was included on messages at the address firstname.lastname@example.org when going through State Department documents in “late summer,” and then more on documents in February.
However, Ware told The Associated Press on Thursday that it wasn’t until Feb. 28, just days before the scandal broke, that the State Department acknowledged Clinton only used personal email while in office. After that, the committee, chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., announced it has subpoenaed all of Clinton’s emails relating to Benghazi – including any communications from her personal email and server, as well as texts, attachments and pictures.
The Associated Press earlier this week quoted an anonymous source saying the White House counsel’s office was also not aware of Clinton’s exclusive use of personal email during her tenure, and only found out as part of the congressional investigation.
Clinton has drawn criticism for using a private server during the four years she was a top official in Obama’s cabinet. Her use of personal emails has raised questions as to whether all important messages were secure and if they were turned over for congressional investigations and lawsuits.
Clinton tweeted Wednesday she turned over all relevant emails to the State Department to review and make public.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
YEP, THE MOST ‘TRANSPARENT’ ADMINISTRATION IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES