UPDATE: 12:40 p.m. EDT — Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus reacted to the State Department's report on Wednesday, saying the inspector general's findings simply add to the concerns Republicans have been raising about Hillary Clinton for months.
Clinton's presidential campaign shot back with its own statement arguing that the inspector general's report is not damaging because it shows that other secretaries of state also used personal email, just as she did.
"While political opponents of Hillary Clinton are sure to misrepresent this report for their own purposes, in reality, the inspector general documents just how consistent her email practices were with those of other secretaries and senior officials at the State Department who also used personal email," the statement said. "The report shows that problems with the State Department's electronic recordkeeping systems were longstanding and that there was no precedent of someone in her position having a State Department email account until after the arrival of her successor."
The statement also emphasized that State Department officials knew about Clinton's personal email and that she took steps "that went much further than others to appropriately preserve and release her records."
Hillary Clinton just can't seem to get away from her email woes. After months of being dogged by the controversy surrounding her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, the State Department’s inspector general has concluded that Clinton did not comply with the agency’s policies on record keeping, Politico reported Wednesday.
The information comes in a report released to lawmakers Wednesday that Politico obtained. The report says the State Department has "long-standing, systemic weaknesses" regarding its records that "go well beyond the tenure of any one secretary of state,” but it does call out Clinton for using her private email while in office.
“Therefore, Secretary Clinton should have preserved any federal records she created and received on her personal account by printing and filing those records with the related files in the office of the secretary,” the report said. “At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all emails dealing with department business before leaving government service, and because she did not do so, she did not comply with the department’s policies that were implemented in accordance with the Federal Records Act.”
The report also revealed Clinton and her top staff members did not cooperate with the State Department review. Its findings come from interviews with current Secretary of State John Kerry and his predecessors Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, but Clinton declined an interview.
After it was reported in March that Clinton used a personal email address connected to a privately owned server during her time as secretary of state, there has been much discussion about whether she actually did anything wrong. A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit led a judge to order the State Department to release batches of her emails monthly from June through early this year, and Clinton has continued to face scrutiny on several other fronts as she tries to put the scandal behind her and focus on her run for the Democratic presidential nomination.
In addition to the State Department inspector general report, she faces a continuing FBI investigation into the setup of the email server as well as other FOIA lawsuits. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has criticized Clinton over this controversy, and he is likely to use this latest report as fodder for his nickname for her, “Crooked Hillary.”