WASHINGTON — Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s lack of explanation as to why she used a private, non-government email account when she was the country’s top diplomat will hurt her unless she comes forward with more details, says California Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
She was the first major Democrat to urge Clinton to fully explain her actions.
The former first lady and New York Senator “needs to step up and come out and state exactly what the situation is,” Feinstein said. “From this point on, the silence is going to hurt her.”
Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, avoided the controversy. Asked whether his wife was treated fairly, Bill Clinton replied, “I’m not the one to judge that. I have an opinion, but I have a bias.”
“I shouldn’t be making news on this,” he said, in remarks reported on CNN.com.
Hillary Clinton has been criticized for her use of the private email account and whether she complied with federal rules requiring officials to retain their communications. Clinton says that she’s turned over all relevant emails — totaling 55,000 pages — to the State Department for review.
Last week, the House committee investigating the Benghazi, Libya, attacks, issued subpoenas for Clinton’s emails, and the Chairman said March 8: “We’re not entitled to everything. I don’t want everything. I just want everything related to Libya and Benghazi.”
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said “there are gaps of months and months and months” in the emails the committee had previously received. “It’s not up to Secretary Clinton to decide what’s a public record and what’s not.”
Clinton is considered the front-runner for the party’s 2016 Presidential nomination, but hasn’t entered the race yet. So far, a tweet has been her only comment on the controversy. She did not address the issue March 7 during an event in Coral Gables, Florida, for the Clinton Global Initiative University.
One of Clinton’s predecessors, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, said he has retained none of the emails sent from his personal email account during his tenure at the department in the first George W. Bush administration.
“I don’t have any to turn over,” he said on March 8. “I did not keep a cache of them. I did not print them off.”
Powell added: “A lot of the emails that came out of my personal account went into the State Department system. They were addressed to State Department employees and the State.gov domain. But I don’t know if the servers (for) the State Department captured those or not.”
Powell said all the emails from his account were unclassified and most were “pretty benign, so I’m not terribly concerned even if they were able to recover them.”
Feinstein appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press, Gowdy was on CBS’ Face the Nation, and Powell spoke on ABC’s This Week.