Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Tuesday defended her use of a private email server when she served as the secretary of state from 2009 until 2013, calling it legal. Clinton said that reports about the emails "has nothing to do with me," and also blamed Republicans for fueling the controversy.
“The facts are stubborn: What I did was legally permitted,” Clinton told reporters in north Las Vegas at a town-hall meeting, according to Time magazine, adding: “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."
"This will burn itself out," Clinton said in an interview with NBC's Spanish broadcast television network Telemundo, adding: "It's being turned into a partisan attack connected, unfortunately, with the continuing Republican partisanship over Benghazi, which was a great tragedy and has already been investigated from one side to the other."
When a reporter asked Clinton if she wiped her server clean before turning it over, she joked: "What, like with a cloth or something,” CNN reported.
She added that she had already cooperated with authorities in handing over the emails, and that she had the right to withhold personal emails. "Under the law, that decision is made by the official. I was the official. I made those decisions," Clinton said.
"Look, my personal emails are my personal business. Right?" she said, according to the Washington Post, adding: "So we went through a painstaking process and through 55,000 pages we thought could be worth relating."
According to Clinton, over 1,200 of those emails were found to be unrelated to work, CNN reported.
Clinton's comments come as government lawyers will debate with Judicial Watch, a Washington-based conservative watchdog group, Thursday over whether federal officials are making a good-faith effort to find the government correspondence between Clinton and her staff, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The matter is being probed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation after the inspector general for U.S. intelligence agencies said that four emails of the 40 being reviewed contained classified content, including two that may have contained “top secret” information.
Clinton said Tuesday that the focus of the investigation is figuring out what information should have been classified at the time, but was not. “That’s what they are sorting out,” Clinton said, according to the Journal, adding: “But, whether it was a personal account or a government account, I did not send classified material and I did not receive any material that was marked or designated classified.”
On Monday, the U.S. State Department said in a court filing that it has identified 305 emails from Clinton’s private server, which will be reviewed to find out if she leaked classified information through them. Last week, Clinton also agreed to turn over her private email server to authorities.
"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 people investigating it to try to figure out," Clinton said, according to the Washington Post, adding that she wished she had not used the private system.