Hillary Clinton: 'It would have been better' if I used official email

Colin Campbell

A defiant Hillary Clinton denied any wrongdoing when she took a series of questions from reporters on Tuesday about the controversy over her use of a personal email address during her time at the State Department.

The press conference took place at the United Nations where Clinton was participating in the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Clinton, who is widely considered the Democratic front-runner in the 2016 presidential race, attributed her use of a private email address to "convenience" and a desire to have her official and personal messages on a single device.

"I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails, instead of two. Looking back, it would have been better if I simply used a second email account," she said. "But at the time, this didn't seem like an issue."

The press conference was announced a few hours before it began. Over a hundred reporters, many of whom spent hours obtaining last minute UN press credentials, crowded a stakeout area outside the Security Council chambers in order to cover the event.

Before Clinton took the stage, UN staffers removed a set of flags that flanked the podium where she spoke. Business Insider repeatedly asked one of the staffers if they were directed to remove the flags by Clinton's team. The staffer, who was about two feet away, answered by saying they couldn't hear the question while smiling broadly. 

When Clinton arrived, she began by making brief statements on women's rights, the US nuclear negotiations with Iran, and the emails. Once she was finished, her spokesman Nick Merrill handpicked which reporters got to ask questions throughout the press conference. Journalists who attempted to get their questions in outside of this process were ignored. 

The very first person called on praised Clinton's work on behalf of women's rights and asked if the email controversy was sexist.

"If you were a man today, would all this fuss be being made?" he asked. 

She suggested she would leave that question for others to answer. 

Subsequent questions were much more aggressive. Clinton was repeatedly pressed on her reasoning for using a private address and quizzed about the security of her account. Clinton insisted her personal email server was quite secure, despite reports suggesting otherwise.

"The system we used was set up for President Clinton's office," she said. "It had numerous safeguards. It was guarded on property guarded by the Secret Service and there were no security breaches."

Clinton further said she never emailed state secrets so others, so no crucial information was left vulnerable to hackers.

"I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material. So I'm certainly well aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material," she said.

Clinton also denied breaking federal regulations with her personal email account despite a New York Times report indicating otherwise. She said she went out of her way to include email government employees on their official email accounts whenever she was conducting state business, ensuring that the message would be recorded.

"The laws and regulations in effect when I was secretary of state allowed me to use my email for work. That is undisputed. Secondly, under the Federal Records Act, records are defined as recorded information, regardless of its form or characteristics. And in meeting the record keeping obligation, it was my practice to email government officials on their state … accounts so the emails were immediately captured and preserved."

Clinton said she would not hand over her server to an independent investigator, as some Republicans have called for. She attributed her reluctance to do this to the fact that her personal communications were also on the server. 

"No one wants their personal emails made public," Clinton said. "I think everyone understands that."

In total, the press conference lasted about 20 minutes and Clinton took less than ten questions before leaving. 

This story is being continuously updated with details from the press conference. 

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