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Live updates: Hillary Clinton news conference

March 10, 2015
(Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

(Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Hillary Rodham Clinton took several questions from reporters on Tuesday afternoon for the first time since leaving the State Department. This news conference came amid an ongoing controversy over her use of a private e-mail account during her time as secretary of state.

[Read a transcript of her remarks.]

  • Glenn Kessler
  • ·

While Clinton stressed she sent no “classified” information in her e-mails, the State Department has another category called “sensitive but unclassified.”

As of 2005, the State Department Foreign Affairs manual has stated that “sensitive but unclassified” information should not be transmitted through personal e-mail accounts.

“It is the Department’s general policy that normal day-to-day operations be conducted on an authorized AIS [Automated Information System], which has the proper level of security control to provide nonrepudiation, authentication and encryption, to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the resident information,” the manual says.

While the SBU category includes a number of technical items, such a design of embassies and payroll information, the State Department also lists “Inter or intra-agency communications, including emails, that form part of the internal deliberative processes of the U.S. Government, the disclosure of which could harm such processes.”

It’s unclear whether Clinton’s email account was conducted through a secure system that would meet State’s requirements.

  • Jose A. DelReal
  • ·

Hillary Clinton finally addressed the controversy over her use of private e-mail while secretary of state Tuesday afternoon. She had a lot to say. So did Twitter.

Twitter had: thoughts about the press conference venue.

Thoughts about her e-mail explanation.

Read the full post here.

  • Jose A. DelReal
  • ·

GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy (S.C.), chair of the Select Committee on Benghazi, on Tuesday accused Hillary Clinton of “creating more questions than answers” during her press conference and indicated he would request she appear before the committee twice in the near future.

“Because Secretary Clinton has created more questions than answers, the Select Committee is left with no choice but to call her to appear at least twice. The first appearance will be to clear up her role and resolve issues surrounding her exclusive use of personal email to conduct official business,” Gowdy wrote. “Our committee will then call her to appear before the Committee in a public hearing to answer questions specifically regarding Libya and the Benghazi terrorist attacks that took the lives of our four brave fellow citizens.”

Gowdy also called on Clinton to hand over her private e-mail server to “a neutral, detached third-party arbiter” for inspection.

“Without access to Secretary Clinton’s personal server, there is no way for the State Department to know it has acquired all documents that should be made public,” Gowdy wrote. “… The Secretary of State has enormous responsibility and jurisdiction and the public, the media and Congress have a legal right to access these public records without impediment.”

Read the full statement here.

  • Mark Berman
  • ·

While the Republican National Committee was not a fan of Clinton’s news conference, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) gave her a more positive review. Schiff, a member of the Benghazi Select Committee, praised her remarks.

“I commend Secretary Clinton for addressing the concerns raised over her use of personal e-mails, and urge the State Department to quickly review the 55,000 pages she provided and make them public,” he said. “In particular, the Department should prioritize those e-mails pertaining to Benghazi so that they are released as soon as possible.”

He said that releasing these e-mails could help conclude the investigation into the Sept. 11, 2011 attacks on U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya.

  • Mark Berman
  • ·

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, was unsurprisingly not a fan of the news conference.

“Hillary Clinton’s press conference was completely disingenuous,” he said in a statement. “If she had an ounce of respect for the American people, she would have apologized for putting our national security at risk for ‘convenience.’”

Priebus said that Clinton should have given her server to an independent arbiter for examination.

“Because only Hillary Clinton controls her personal email account and admitted she deleted many of her e-mails, no one but Hillary Clinton knows if she handed over every relevant e-mail,” he said.

  • Mark Berman
  • ·

You can read a complete transcript of the news conference here.

  • Mark Berman
  • ·

Clinton ended her news conference after taking several questions over about 20 minutes. Here are four things we learned during this relatively brief appearance in front of reporters (and the questions some of these things raised):

1. She deleted thousands of e-mails

This may be the main takeaway from Wednesday’s news conference: Clinton publicly admitting that she had deleted thousands of e-mails from her private e-mail server, which meant they were not sent to the State Department for review.

“I chose not to keep my private personal e-mails,” she said, adding that they were about things like yoga, family vacations and her daughter’s wedding. She said that she went through her e-mails and found more than 60,000 were sent and received, half of which she deemed “work-related.”

2. She conceded it was probably not wise to use just a personal e-mail account

Clinton said that “it would have been probably smarter” had she used two e-mail accounts — a personal account and a government account — rather than just having everything on her private e-mail. She said that the decision was made for “convenience,” so that she could carry around just one device rather than two devices.

However, she did not explain why she was unable to carry around one device that could access multiple e-mail accounts, which many people commonly do with professional and personal e-mail accounts.

3. The private e-mail server was set up for Bill Clinton

The server that was used for her e-mail correspondence was set up for her husband, she said, and she added that she believed it was secure.”It had numerous safeguards,” she said. “It was on property guarded by the Secret Service. And there were no security breaches.”

Of course, having a server on physical property guarded by the Secret Service has no bearing on whether or not someone is able to remotely hack into or access the device or the e-mails. Clinton did not go into any detail about how she was sure there were no security lapses.

4. Clinton says she never sent or received classified e-mails

This answer seemed to raise several other questions, as Clinton traveled extensively while secretary of state and likely exchanged plenty of e-mails during these trips. But when asked whether she was ever briefed about the security implications of using her personal account to e-mail President Obama, she answered that it was never an issue.

“I did not e-mail any classified material to anyone on my e-mail,” she said. “There is no classified material. So I’m certainly well-aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.”

  • Mark Berman
  • ·

Clinton said she never e-mailed classified material on her account, which seemingly answers one question (what about the potentially sensitive information she sent or received as secretary of state) but raises another (about how she was sure no one would ever send her anything classified during her tenure).

  • Mark Berman
  • ·

Clinton said that the e-mail server used for her messages was one set up for her husband’s use, adding that it was on their property and guarded by the Secret Service. This came in response to a question about the safety of her messages, an issue that has been raised because her e-mail server inevitably handled messages relating to her work as secretary of state.

  • Mark Berman
  • ·

In answering questions about her e-mail habits, Clinton defended her decision to use her own personal e-mail address, arguing that the e-mails she gave to the Department of State covered her professional correspondence.

She also said her decision was one of convenience, saying it did not appear to be an issue to her at the time.

“Looking back, it would have been probably smarter to have used two devices,” she said. “But I have absolute confidence that anything that could be in any way connected to work is in the possession of the State Department.”

Clinton said she believed that she erred on the side of giving the State Department every e-mail that could be possibly considered professional.

However, a core issue has lingered through her news conference, as she has repeatedly stressed her belief that she acted properly and within the guidelines. The determination of what was a personal and a professional e-mail was made by Clinton, rather than by the State Department, which was not given access to what she called “personal communications” on her private e-mail server.

“The server will remain private,” she said.

  • Jose A. DelReal
  • ·

As reporters waited for Hillary Clinton’s press conference on the e-mail scandal to begin, those tuning in on CSPAN spotted something in the camera frame…

The famous Picasso painting, “Guernica,” which depicts the aftermath of a bombing. The irony was not lost. On anyone.

  • Mark Berman
  • ·

  • Mark Berman
  • ·

In her initial remarks, Clinton spoke about the current “intense negotiations” between the United States and Iran over the latter country’s nuclear program. She specifically criticized a letter that Republican senators had sent to Iran’s leadership.

“The recent letter from Republican senators was out of step with the best traditions of American leadership,” she said. “And one has to ask, what was the purpose of this letter?”

Clinton said there were only two possible explanations for the letter.

“Either these senators were trying to be helpful to the Iranians or harmful to the commander in chief in the midst of high-stakes international diplomacy,” she said.

Both explanations discredit the people who signed the letter, she said.

  • Jose A. DelReal
  • ·

The State Department is set to review 55,000 e-mails from Hillary Clinton’s tenure in office, a months-long process that will be conducted according to Freedom of Information Act standards.

One striking logistical peculiarity: FOIA requests are usually processed by paper, meaning that Clinton’s team shipped boxes upon boxes of documents to the State Department when they were asked to provide her records. Those 55,000 sheets of paper will now be reviewed manually.

State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki had a friendly warning to those reviewing the documents during today’s press briefing. From the transcript:

Question: I mean, doesn’t that seem to be a waste of a lot of…

Psaki: Paper?

Question: Paper and man/woman power, having to go through and sort individual. I mean, look, paper cuts, there are all sorts of risks here. Wouldn’t…

Psaki: Paper cuts is a risk.

There you have it.

  • Anne Gearan
  • ·
(Mike Segar/Reuters)

(Mike Segar/Reuters)

The setting at the U.N., just outside the Security Council chamber, was an awkward one for parochial politics.

UN officials moved aside a bank of flags usually used as a backdrop for diplomats as the leave Security Council meetings. But a banner with the U.N. blue color and Security Council logo remained — because it is nailed to the wall.

  • Mark Berman
  • ·

The State Department said Wednesday it planned to review all 55,000 pages of e-mails that Clinton had given them and release them at once.

“We will review the entire 55,000 page set and release in one batch at the end of that review to make sure that standards are consistently applied,” Jen Psaki, the State Department’s spokeswoman, said during a briefing.

The only documents that they will review for a separate, earlier release are the approximately 300 given to the Benghazi committee.

  • Mark Berman
  • ·

As Clinton prepares to speak to reporters for the first time since she left the State Department, one of her possible competitors for the White House next year was touting his accessibility.

The official account of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), a likely presidential candidate, tweeted on Wednesday afternoon about how much he loves town halls. Implied or coincidental, the tweets seemed to draw a comparison between a candidate forever answering questions and one who is about to speak to reporters inside a venue that was criticized as being inaccessible.

Last year, as Christie was plagued by a scandal involving traffic delays on the George Washington Bridge, he spoke to reporters at a marathon news conference and apologized for the bridge episode.

  • Philip Rucker
  • ·

Before facing reporters to address the controversy surrounding her private e-mail server, Clinton gave a long-anticipated speech to the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles event.

Clinton marked the 20th anniversary from her landmark address in Bejing at the World Conference on Women, where as first lady she famously declared, “Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all.”

At the U.N. on Tuesday, Clinton said, “We are here to build on the progress of the past and seize the promise of the future.” She talked about the importance of full participation of women and girls in every aspect of society, but added, “Despite all this progress, we’re still not there yet.”

  • Mark Berman
  • ·

The e-mail controversy has overshadowed what Clinton intended to be some carefully planned events highlighting her efforts on behalf of women and girls, which included events Monday and Tuesday tied to the 20th anniversary of an address she delivered in Beijing. That speech, delivered when she was first lady, drew international attention after she said: “Let it be that human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.”

Here is that speech:

  • Philip Rucker
  • ·

The United Nations is Ready for Hillary! As a U.N. “Women’s Empowerment Principles” event got underway, former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton was introduced as a “future president.” The title drew loud cheers from the audience and Clinton soaked up the applause, smiling and laughing.

https://twitter.com/shushwalshe/status/575353591273287680?refsrc=email&s=11

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