President Obama exchanged emails with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at her private address -- @clintonemail.com -- but did not know the details of her account or how she would comply with administration policy and federal records law, the White House said today.
“Yes, he was aware of her email address. He traded emails with her,” Obama spokesman Josh Earnest told ABC’s Jonathan Karl. “But he was not aware of her personal email server or that she was using it exclusively for all her business.”
Asked how often Obama and Clinton emailed, Earnest said he “would not describe the number as large.”
In an interview Saturday, Obama said he learned of his secretary of state's private email address use through recent news reports, "the same time everybody else learned it."
Earnest explained that the president was referring to details of her email system and the fact that she had not been in compliance with State Department policy for nearly six years after failing to submit the records for transfer to government computers.
Clinton has called for the public release of 55,000 emails turned over to the State Department for archiving. Her team handpicked the messages off her private server that pertained to official business; Clinton's camp said roughly 10 percent were of a personal nature and not handed over.
"I'm glad that Hillary [has] instructed that those emails about official business need to be disclosed," Obama said Saturday.
Earnest said an independent, third-party review of Clinton's private server should not be required, but suggested that the White House would not oppose one if she elected to do so.
The former Secretary of State has remained mum on the email controversy. She has yet to explain why she exclusively used private email through a server built inside her New York home while Secretary of State, or why it took six years to submit the records as required under the department policy she oversaw.
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