Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that every step she took with her emails was “permitted by law,” adding that she went “above and beyond what anyone could have expected.”
Clinton also told CNN’s Brianna Keilar in her first national television interview that she actually “didn’t have to turn over anything,” telling the interviewer that she turned over “everything she could imagine.”
BRIANNA KIELAR: One of the issues that has eroded some trust that we’ve seen is the issue of your e-mail practices while you were secretary of state. I think there’s a lot of people who don’t understand what your thought process was on that. So can you tell me the story of how you decided to delete 33,000 e-mails and how that deletion was executed?
HILLARY CLINTON: Well, let’s start from the beginning, everything I did was permitted. There was no law. There was no regulation, there was nothing that did not give me the full authority to decide how I was going to communicate. Previous secretaries of state have said they did the same thing. And people across the government knew I used one device, maybe it was because I am not the most technically capable person and wanted to make it as easy as possible.
KEILAR: But you said that they did the same thing, that they used a personal server and, while facing a subpoena, deleted e-mails from them?
CLINTON: You know, you’re starting with so many assumptions that are — I’ve never had a subpoena, there’s nothing — again, let’s take a deep breath here. Everything I did was permitted by law and regulation. I had one device. When I mailed anybody in the government, it would go into the government system. Now, 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, people get a real time behind the scenes look at what I was e-mailing about, and what i was communicating about…So, yes, this is being blown up with no basis in law or in fact. That’s fine, I get it. This is being in effect used by the Republicans in the Congress. okay, but I want people to understand what the truth is, and the truth is, everything I did was permitted. And I went above and beyond what anybody could have expected in making sure that if the State Department didn’t capture something, I made a real effort to get it to them, and I had no obligation to do any of that, so let’s set the record straight. And those 55,000 pages, they will be released over the course of this year, people can again make their own judgment.
KEILAR: I know you say you were permitted. I am just am trying to understand some of the thought process behind it. One former state attorney general, a Democrat, told CNN that they know of no lawyer who would advise someone, a client, facing the kind of scrutiny you’ve been facing to wipe their server. I mean, what do you say to that?
CLINTON: Well, what I say to that is I turned over everything I was obligated to turn over, and then I moved on. People delete their personal e-mails, their work-related emails, whatever e-mails they have on a regular basis. I turned over everything that I could imagine. Now, sitting in a meeting in the State Department and asking for iced tea may not rise to the level of negotiating peace, but I went above and beyond. That’s why there’s 55,000 pages of my e-mails, and so I think people have an interesting time behind the scenes. And all I can tell you is that the law, the regulation did not in anyway stand in my way of being permitted to do what I did. And as i said, prior secretaries of state– I mean, Secretary [Colin] Powell has admitted he did exactly the same thing. So I think both Secretary Powell and I are viewed as public servants. We do our very best to serve our country. He had such a distinguished record, you know, I have served my country as well. We both did the same thing. Now, years have passed, so he clearly doesn’t have anything left. I did everything I could to make sure people got anything that was related that I had.