By Kathryn Watson
Democratic presidential nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed publicly for the first time in a recent CBS News “60 Minutes” interview that using private email servers was “recommended” to her.
The revelation — highlighted in a Judicial Watch lawsuit against the State Department — raises new unanswered questions about who may have suggested or influenced Clinton’s decision to relay sensitive and classified State Department information on private channels.
Clinton used a private email address and server located in her New York home throughout her tenure as the nation’s chief diplomat. An FBI investigation confirmed that contrary to her previous claims Clinton sent and received highly sensitive classified information on the server and that she did not turn over to the State Department thousands of emails concerning official business.
CBS Correspondent Scott Pelley touched on the email controversy in a July 24, 2016, interview with Clinton and vice presidential running mate, Democratic Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine. Judicial Watch obtained the interview transcript.
PELLEY: “Why did you do that, have the private email servers?”
CLINTON: “You know, Scott, other people have — other secretaries of state, other high-ranking members of administrations, plural. And it was recommended that it would be convenient, and I thought it would be. It’s turned out to be anything but.”
Pelley didn’t follow up and ask Clinton who suggested she use private email servers.
The revelation comes on the heels of the Federal Bureau of Investigation declining to recommend charging Clinton over her private servers and email account. (RELATED: IRS Launches Investigation Of Clinton Foundation)
D.C.-based watchdog group Judicial Watch introduced Clinton’s new statement that someone “recommended” the servers in an ongoing lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. That suit claims the State Department “kept the public in the dark” about Clinton’s “off-grid” record-keeping system.
“If a State Department official, such as the executive secretary or the legal advisor, recommended that Secretary Clinton use a non-state.gov system for State Department business, such evidence could demonstrate the State Department’s role in the decision,” Judicial Watch wrote in a notice of new, relevant information filed with the court Tuesday.
“Similarly, if someone who understood the secretary’s FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) obligations recommended Secretary Clinton’s use of the system, such evidence could suggest that the motivation was more than just convenience.”