Seeking to calm uproar, Hillary Clinton to address email use – Reuters

Posted: Tuesday, March 10, 2015

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will try to defuse a controversy over her use of a private email account for official business as U.S. secretary of state at a news conference on Tuesday.

Clinton will hold a “brief” question-and-answer session with reporters after scheduled remarks at the United Nations in New York, slated to begin at 1:30 p.m., her spokesman said.

Clinton, the presumed front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, has come under fire for her use of a non-government email account at the State Department while working under President Barack Obama.

She tried to head off the criticism last week by urging the State Department to quickly review and release her emails. That was not enough to stem criticism from Republicans, who have questioned her transparency and ethics, and from some Democrats, who are wary that the party’s front-runner for the 2016 White House race could be tarnished.

Clinton’s decision to address reporters reflects a calculation among her advisers that the issue was ballooning into crisis-like proportions. The story has dominated cable news for days.

The issue has complicated what has been seen as a clear pathway for the Democratic nomination by the former U.S. senator and first lady, who lost the 2008 primary race to Obama.

But the issue may not resonate with voters or with the donors who will be critical to funding her campaign.

In interviews with more than a dozen powerful Democratic donors this week, not all of whom have thrown their support behind Clinton, all said they were unfazed by the reports about her email use and believed it would not affect any fundraising she might do.

Democrats on Tuesday urged Clinton to offer a public explanation about her use of the private email account, first reported by The New York Times last week, including the use of her own private computer server.

“She should come forward and explain the situation,” Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Republican-controlled Senate, told MSNBC.

“I’d like to hear her explanation of why she did it and what was covered by it,” he said in an interview. “I think it’s only fair to say to Hillary Clinton: ‘Tell us your side of the story.'”

The controversy has complicated Clinton’s plans for the launch of her campaign, which is expected in the next few weeks. State Department officials say it will take several months to review Clinton’s email for release.

Clinton, who left the State Department in 2013, provided copies of what her office said were all work-related emails from her tenure in a response to a request by the agency last year, some 55,000 pages in all.

The emails were hosted on a private server registered to Clinton’s home rather than a government system.

Obama said on Saturday that he only recently had learned through news reports that Clinton used private email. His spokesman, Josh Earnest, later clarified that Obama knew Clinton’s email address because they wrote to each other, but he was not aware of how it was set up or was kept in compliance with records laws.

Clinton’s team said previous secretaries of state either did not use email or used personal addresses. Current Secretary of State John Kerry is the first to regularly use only a department email address, according to the State Department.

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have received copies of some of Clinton’s emails from the State Department for a continuing probe of the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya.

The Republican members have complained they have no way of knowing if there are other related emails that Clinton has not provided and have issued subpoenas seeking more records.

They believe Clinton’s emails will shed light on whether she did enough to protect U.S. officials in Libya.

(additional reporting by Jeff Mason, Amanda Becker and Susan Heavey; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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