Clinton Jokes Again About Wiping Email Server: 'What, Like With a Cloth?'

By Patrick Goodenough | August 19, 2015 | 2:03 AM EDT

Hillary Clinton speaks to reporters at a community center in North Las Vegas on Tuesday, August 18, 2015. (Screenshot: YouTube)

( – For the second time in four days, Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton on Tuesday tried to make light in public of the deepening controversy surrounding her use of an unsecured, private email server while secretary of state.

Asked by a reporter whether she had “wiped” the server clean before handing it over to federal investigators, she asked, “What, like with a cloth or something?”

The exchange took place as Clinton spoke to reporters following a campaign event in Las Vegas.

She shrugged when asked about suspicions that data had been erased from the server. Investigators are looking into whether email from her private server contained classified information, following concerns raised by the intelligence community’s inspector general.

“The FBI believes that you tried to wipe the entire server,” said Fox News’ Ed Henry. “Did you try to wipe the entire – so there’d be no email, no personal and no official – wipe the whole thing?”

“Well my personal emails are my personal business, right? So we went through a painstaking process and turned over 55,000 pages of anything we thought could be work- related,” she said.

Asked by Henry once more if she tried to wipe the server, Clinton again shrugged.

“I – I’m, I’m, you know I don’t, I have no idea. That’s why we turned it over. We –”

“But you said you were in charge of it, you were the official in charge. Did you wipe the server?”

“What, like with a cloth or something?

“You know how it works digitally. Did you try to wipe the whole server?”

“I don’t know how it works digitally at all.”

Clinton said she could see Henry wanted to make a point.

“In order to be as cooperative as possible, we have turned over the server,” she said. “They can do whatever they want to with the server, to figure out what’s there and what’s not there. That’s for the, you know, people investigating it to try to figure out.”

“But we turned over everything that was work-related. Every single thing,” she said. “Personal stuff, we did not, I had no obligation to do so, and did not.”

Clinton repeated her argument that her actions were “legally permitted.”

“I did not send classified material, and I did not receive any material that was marked or designated ‘classified’ – which is the way you know whether something is.”

As she left the podium and walked away, a reporter asked about the issue’s effect on her campaign. She turned, shrugged again, and said,  “Nobody talks to me about it – other than you guys.”

It was not the first time in recent days Clinton has joked about the server issue. At a Democratic fundraiser in Iowa on Friday night, Clinton told the audience she had recently launched a Snapchat account.

“I love it,” she said with a grin. “I love it. Those messages disappear all by themselves.”

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Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow