NEW YORK (CBSDC/AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton was expected to take questions from reporters Tuesday afternoon to address her email practices at the State Department, following a week of scrutiny over her use of a private email account as secretary of state.
CBS News’ Nancy Cordes reports that Clinton will address the controversy Tuesday following her speech at the United Nations.
Clinton ignored the issue at a forum Monday while fellow Democrats urged her to speak out — and predicted she would — about her decision to conduct business while secretary of state in a private email account. Republicans are ramping up their attention on the issue.
Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois — the No. 2 Senate Democrat — became the first member of the Senate Democratic leadership to call on Clinton to publicly explain her side of the story. “She should come forward and explain the situation,” Durbin said Tuesday on MSNBC. “I think it’s only fair to say to Hillary Clinton: Tell us your side of the story. …What did you put on this personal email?”
At the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama indeed knew she was using a nongovernment account during her tenure. Obama had indicated earlier that he only learned of that from recent news reports.
Earnest said the president actually learned from those news reports of Clinton’s privately run email server, but was familiar with her private account earlier because the two had exchanged emails when she was in office. Obama did not know at the time that she was using private email exclusively, Earnest said.
Clinton spoke Monday at a carefully choreographed two-hour event involving her No Ceilings project at the Clinton Foundation, highlighting economic and educational opportunities for women and girls. She took no questions. When she sat down to lead more informal conversations with invited speakers, participants appeared to be reading from teleprompters.
The Republican National Committee used the vacuum to keep the pressure on Clinton, noting a State Department policy requiring all outgoing employees to turn over job-related materials before leaving. The policy required such employees to sign a “separation statement” declaring they had “surrendered to responsible officials all unclassified documents” related to official business during their employment.
Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement the “fact that Hillary Clinton did not abide by the same rules her State Department employees had to comply with is just the latest example of how the Clintons think the rules don’t apply to them.” Clinton left the State Department in early 2013. It was not immediately clear if Clinton signed the agreement but State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the secretary of state is supposed to follow such department policies. A Clinton spokesman did not immediately comment.
During the past week, the State Department has faced a torrent of questions about Clinton’s email practices, increasingly referring them to Clinton and her team.
Clinton is under scrutiny over whether she fully complied with federal laws requiring government officials to preserve written communications involving official business. She used her own email server, traced to her hometown in Chappaqua, New York, giving herself more control over her email.
Democrats have defended her, but Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California made waves Sunday when she urged Clinton to offer a detailed explanation. “From this point on, the silence is going to hurt her,” Feinstein said.
On Tuesday, the five Democrats on the House panel investigating the fatal 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, asked the State Department to make public some of Clinton’s emails recently provided to the committee. They wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday and urged him to make a priority of the 850 pages of documents that the department gave to the panel.
The State Department is reviewing 55,000 pages of emails that she has turned over and Republicans in Congress have said they plan to review her email practices.
Last week, Clinton said in a Twitter message that she wanted her emails released by the State Department as soon as possible — but did not address why she does not put them out herself immediately. Clinton’sspokesmen and the State Department have said she never received or transmitted classified information on her private email account, in which case there would be no concerns that disclosure of her messages could compromise national security.
Clinton is approaching a public decision on a 2016 presidential campaign and remains the leading prospect for the Democratic nomination if she seeks the White House again.
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