Hillary Clinton acknowledged that she was wrong to use a private email system that was not approved by the State Department but only because of “what it has generated” in terms of her declining trustworthiness ratings.
“Do you think it became a controversy because it fed the trust issue?” PBS host Charlie Rose asked the former secretary of state during an interview on Monday.
“I’m sure it didn’t help. Yes, I’m sure it didn’t help,” Clinton told Rose, admitting for the first time that the email scandal has hurt her politically.
“It was wrong because look at what it has generated,” she added.
Clinton clearly faces a trust deficit because of her email practices and the perception that she has lied to cover them up, most polls show.
According to one conducted in May by The Huffington Post, 55 percent of respondents had an unfavorable view of the former first lady. A Fox News poll conducted earlier that month found that nearly two-thirds of respondents had an unfavorable view of her. A poll from the Morning Consult found that 48 percent of those polled said that Clinton’s email scandal posed a “major problem.” (RELATED: Here Are 35 Email Lies Hillary Is Still Telling On Her Website)
An ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted earlier this month found that 56 percent believed that Clinton should have faced criminal charges in the email case. Twenty-eight percent said they are less likely to vote for Clinton because of the scandal.
But Clinton maintained to Rose that she is honest.
She told the host that she is “the last person you will ever have to worry about ever not being 100 percent as specific and precise as I can be so that nobody ever raises any questions like that ever again.”
Despite that claim, Clinton has been accused by many pundits, including liberal ones, of using deceptive, lawyerly language to defend her email practices.
In a press briefing earlier this month, FBI Director James Comey said that investigators discovered “several thousand” work-related emails that Clinton failed to give the State Department in December 2014. Those records were deleted at some point, though Clinton never acknowledged that that occurred. (RELATED: FBI Director Torches Hillary Email Talking Points)
In a written statement issued to a federal court last year she said that she provided all of her work-related email to the State Department. But she included a clause that provided her with cover. She stated that she handed over those that were “in my possession.”
Clinton has also refused to acknowledge that she was the subject of an FBI investigation. She opted for the term “security review” though both Comey and the White House referred to it as an investigation.
Clinton has also drastically changed her claims regarding sending and receiving classified information. When the scandal first erupted last March she said that she did not receive classified information. When it was discovered that many of her emails contained information that the federal government classified retroactively, she said that she did not send information that was classified when the emails were originated.
When some of her emails were found to have information that was classified at the point of origin, she changed her story again. She said that none of the classified emails she sent or received were “marked” classified at the time they were sent or received.
But Clinton signed a non-disclosure agreement acknowledging that classified information is classified whether it is marked or unmarked. The Democratic presidential candidate has not offered a solid defense against that detail.
Rose asked Clinton about Comey’s harsh criticism of her email practices.
While Comey declined to recommend that charges be filed for mishandling classified information, he called her email practices “extremely careless” during a press briefing earlier this month.
“I don’t know,” is how Clinton responded when Rose asked why Comey characterized her email practices that way.