Hillary Clinton struggled on Thursday to explain a mysterious email exchange — which was revealed in a damning State Department inspector general — that she appears to have never provided to the agency.
The exchange occurred in Nov. 2010 between Clinton and her top aide, Huma Abedin. Abedin informed Clinton that some within the State Department were not receiving her emails, which were sent from a personal email address.
Clinton suggested she might be open to the idea but added that “I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.”
“Can you explain what that sentence meant?” MSNBC’s Chuck Todd asked Clinton during an interview on Thursday.
“What were you worried about with the personal being accessible?”
Clinton said that she wanted to avoid making her personal emails — rather than her work-related emails — public.
“Nobody wants their personal emails made public. That is, I think, a very common if not unanimous feeling among people,” she said.
But that statement gets to the heart of the problem with Clinton’s unprecedented email arrangement. She made the decision at the very beginning of her State Department tenure to use her private email account for both personal and work emails. Federal regulations hold that emails sent on non-government email accounts are still federal records.
But Clinton suggested on Thursday that she wanted it both ways — she wanted the convenience of using one email account for personal and work matters while also avoiding regulations regarding the capture of federal records from those accounts.
“The fact is people have official accounts, they have personal accounts, and when it comes to personal they don’t want their personal accounts made public,” Clinton told Todd.
The State Department inspector general report raised other questions about Clinton’s email practices.
For one, it showed that the Nov. 2010 email exchange Clinton had with Abedin was not among the records that the Democratic front-runner turned over to the State Department in Dec. 2014.
Todd did not ask Clinton why that email was missing from the records she gave the State Department. She did falsely claim that she gave the agency “all” of her work emails.
On Wednesday, State Department officials said they had no idea why the records Clinton provided did not contain that particular email chain.
The absence of the emails suggests the possibility that Clinton or one of her employees deleted the record.
The IG report also revealed that Clinton’s server was the subject of a possible hack attempt in early 2011. But Clinton failed to inform the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security about the threat, though she should have.
The report also included statements from State Department officials who work on information technology matters. They told the IG that they would not have approved Clinton’s email system, which involved the use of a private server and did not have the same security setup as the State Department’s official system.