(CNSNews.com) – Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said Friday that what she told FBI Director James Comey regarding the email investigation is “consistent” with what she said publicly.
In an appearance at the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)/National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) annual convention in Washington, D.C., Clinton was asked whether she mischaracterized Comey’s testimony and whether it was undercutting her efforts to rebuild trust with the American people.
“This week, you told two separate news organizations that FBI Director James Comey said ‘My answers were truthful and that what I said is consistent with what I told the American people.’ That assertion as you know has been debunked by multiple news organizations, which point out that Director Comey did say there’s no indication that you lied to the FBI, but he didn’t weigh in on whether or not you were truthful to the American people,” NBC's Kristen Welker said.
“So my question for you is, are you mischaracterizing Director Comey’s testimony, and is this not undercutting your efforts to rebuild trust with the American people,” Welker asked.
“I appreciate your asking that because I was pointing out in both of those instances that Director Comey had said that my answers in my FBI interview were truthful. That’s really the bottom line here, and I have said during the interview and in many other occasions over the past months that what I told the FBI, which he said was truthful, is consistent with what I have said publicly,” Clinton said.
“So I may have short-circuited, and that I will try to clarify, because I think [Fox News Sunday host] Chris Wallace and I were probably talking past each other, because of course he could only talk to what I had told the FBI, and I appreciated that,” she added.
“Now I have acknowledged repeatedly that using two email accounts was a mistake, and I take responsibility for that, but I do think having him say that my answers to the FBI were truthful and then I should quickly add what I said was consistent with what I had said publicly, and sort of in my view, trying to tie both ends together,” Clinton said.
“Is the one inconsistency though that you said that you never sent or received classified material, and he did say there were three emails that were marked classified at the time. Is that an inconsistency?” Welker asked.
“Here are the facts behind that as well. You know that I sent over 30,000 emails to the State Department that were work-related emails. Director Comey said that only three out of 30,000 had anything resembling classified markers. What does that mean?” Clinton said.
“Well usually if any of you have ever served in the government, a classified document has a big heading on the top, which makes very clear what the classification is,” Clinton added.
“And in questioning, Director Comey made the point that the three emails out of the 30,000 did not have the appropriate markings, and it was therefore reasonable to conclude that anyone, including myself, would have not suspected that they were classified,” she said.
“And in fact, I think that has been discussed by others who have said two out of those three were later explained by the State Department not to have been in any way confidential at the time that they were delivered, so that leaves the 100 out of 30,000 emails that Director Comey testified contained classified information, but again, he acknowledged there were no markings on those 100 emails, and so what we have here is pretty much what I have been saying throughout this whole year, and that is that I never sent or received anything that was marked classified,” she added.
“Now if in retrospect – which is what is behind the 100 number – if in retrospect, some different agencies said it should have been – although it wasn’t, it should have been – that’s what the debate is about, but Director Comey said there was absolutely no intention on my part to either ignore or in any way dismiss the importance of those documents, because they weren’t marked classified, so that would have been hard to do, and I will go back to where I started,” Clinton said.
“I regret using one account. I’ve taken responsibility for that, but I’m pleased to be able to clarify and explain what I think the bottom line is on this,” she concluded.