Clinton’s Statements To FBI Raise New Questions About Her Emails

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
Font Size:

New questions are being raised about what Hillary Clinton reportedly told the FBI about her use of a personal email account as secretary of state.

According to NBC News and The New York Times, Clinton told FBI investigators last month that retired Gen. Colin Powell, her predecessor as secretary of state, advised her on two occasions — once at a dinner party and once through email — to use a personal account for State Department business.

But Powell says he has no recollection of giving Clinton the advice at the dinner party. And Clinton failed to give the State Department the email exchange she had with Powell. That despite her claims that she gave the State Department all of her work-related emails in Dec. 2014.

The New York Times first reported the dinner party claim on Thursday. NBC News confirmed it later based upon sources familiar with Clinton’s FBI interrogation.

The Times article provides details of the dinner party reported in a forthcoming book written by Joe Conason, a pro-Clinton journalist.

According to Conason, Powell and Clinton were at a small dinner party at the Washington D.C. home of Madeleine Albright, the secretary of state under Bill Clinton. Former Secs. of State Henry Kissinger and Condoleezza Rice were also at the shindig, which was held several months into Clinton’s tenure. (RELATED: Clinton Claimed Colin Powell Recommended She Use Personal Email)

“Toward the end of the evening, over dessert, Albright asked all of the former secretaries to offer one salient bit of counsel to the nation’s next top diplomat,” Conason writes, according to The Times. “Powell told her to use her own email, as he had done, except for classified communications, which he had sent and received via a State Department computer.”

Conason’s source for that information is unclear. According to The Times, he interviewed both Hillary and Bill Clinton for the book, which will be released next month.

Powell says he does not remember the dinner exchange.

“General Powell has no recollection of the dinner conversation,” reads a statement from Powell’s office.

It is unclear if the retired four-star Army general is disputing the claim that he made the dinner party suggestion or if he is merely unable to remember.

The Times and NBC News also reported that Clinton told FBI investigators last month that she and Powell had an email exchange in 2009 in which he advised her to use a personal email account. Clinton had reportedly already decided to use a personal email account to conduct State Department business, but Powell’s suggestion reinforced the idea.

Powell acknowledged in his statement that he did have an email exchange with Clinton about his use of personal email while he served as secretary of state. He said that he told her about his use of an AOL account to send and receive unclassified material and that it “vastly improved communications within the State Department.”

He said he used a secure computer on his desk to handle classified information. He also said that he no longer has the 2009 email exchange.

NBC has additional detail on that front. The network reports that the State Department also did not have a copy of the email. That means that Clinton failed to turn it over along with the 30,000-plus work-related emails she gave the agency in 2014.

Clinton has insisted that she gave the State Department all of her work emails.

But a copy of the email has been recovered, according to NBC. FBI investigators were able to retrieve the deleted record from Clinton’s private server, the network reported.

Clinton did give the State Department at least one email she received from Powell. In the June 19, 2009 message, Powell referred to a visit he had with Clinton just days before.

“Good being with you the other evening,” he wrote.

It is unclear if he was referred to the dinner party mentioned in Conason’s book.

Clinton’s email arrangement went far beyond Powell’s, however. She used a private server that she paid a State Department employee off the books to manage. She also sent and received thousands of emails that contained classified information, some of it “Top Secret.”

FBI director James Comey said last month that there is no evidence that Clinton lied during her July 2 interrogation. He did call her use of a personal email system “extremely careless.”

Follow Chuck on Twitter