Hillary Clinton Addresses the Personal Email Controversy

The former Secretary of State says she opted for personal email out of convenience and that she "fully complied" with State Department rules regarding electronic correspondence.
22:24 | 03/10/15

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Transcript for Hillary Clinton Addresses the Personal Email Controversy
This is an ABC news special. Now reported. George Stephanopoulos. And we're coming on the air right now because Hillary Clinton is about to hold a press conference answering questions for the first time there she is UN but that email controversy that's cropped up in the last week here she. Clinton's gender equality front and center. On the international agenda. I'm especially pleased to have so many leaders here from the private sector standing shoulder to shoulder with advocates. Who've worked tirelessly for equality for decades. Twenty years ago this was a lonely or struggle. Today we mark the progress that has been made in the two decades since the international community gathered in Beijing. And declared with one voice that human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights. And because of advances in health education and legal protections. We can say that there has never baton. A better time in history to be born female. Yet as the comprehensive new report published by the Clinton foundation and the gates foundation this week makes clear. Despite all this progress. When it comes to the full participation of women and girls we're just not there yet. As I said today this remains the great unfinished business of the 21 century. And my passion for this fight. Birds as brightly today as it did twenty years ago. I want to comment. On the matter in the news today regarding Iran. The president and his team are in the midst of intense negotiations. Their goal is a diplomatic solution that would close off Iran's pathways. To eight nuclear bomb. And give us unprecedented. Access and insight. Into Iran's nuclear program. Now reasonable people can disagree about what exactly it will take to accomplish this objective. And we all must judge any final agreement. On its merits. But the recent letter from Republican senators was out of step. With the best traditions of American leadership. And one has to ask. What was the purpose of this letter. There appear to be too logical answers. Either these senators were trying to be helpful. To the Iranians. Or harmful to the commander in chief. In the midst of high stakes international diplomacy. Either answer. Does dis credit. To the letter's signatories. Now I would be pleased to talk more about this important matter but I know. There have been questions about my email so I want to address that directly and that I will take a few questions from you. There are four things I want the public to know. First. When I got to work as secretary of state. I opted for convenience to use my personal email account which was allowed by the State Department. Because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work. And for my personal emails instead of chip. Looking back it would have been better but I simply used a second email account. And carried a second phone but at the time this didn't seem like an issue. Second. The vast majority my work emails went to government employees at their government addresses. Which meant they were captured and preserved. Immediately. On the system at the State Department. Third. After I left office the State Department. Asked former secretaries. Of state. For our assistance in providing copies. Of work related emails from our personal accounts. I responded right away and provided all my emails that could possibly be work related. Which told old roughly 55000. Printed pages. Even though I knew that the State Department already had the vast majority of them. We went through a thorough process to identify all of my work related emails and deliver them to the State Department. At the end I chose not to keep. My private personal emails. Emails about planning Chelsea's wedding or my mother's funeral arrangements condolence notes to friends. As well as yoga routines family vacations the other things you typically find in in boxes. No one wants their personal emails made public and I think most people understand that and respect that privacy. Fourth I took the unprecedented. Step. Of asking that the State Department make all my work related emails public for everyone to see. I am very proud of the work that I and my colleagues and our public servants at the department did. During my four years as secretary of state. And I look forward to people being able to see that for themselves. Again looking back it would have been better for -- used to separate phones and two email accounts. I thought using one device would be simpler. And obviously it hasn't worked out that way. Now I'm happy to take a few questions. Isn't it now let me nick is calling on people. Months secretary and common highly Celek with Turkish television. On behalf about the young correspondents association thank you very much for your remarks and it's wonderful to see you here again. Months secretary. Why didn't did you opt out not and using. Two devices at the time obviously if this didn't come out that you wouldn't probably won't become an issue. And my my second follow up question is if you were a man today with all this be fuss being made that be may think. I will I will leave that to others to answer. But as died as I sat. I sought as a matter of convenience. And it was allowed others had done its according to the State Department which recently said secretary Kerry was the first secretary of state to rely. Primarily. On a state dot email account. And when I got there I wanted to just use one device for both personal and work emails instead of two. It was allowed and as I said it was for convenience. And it was my practice to communicate with State Department and other government officials. On their dot gov account so those emails would be automatically. Saved in the state department's system to meet. Record keeping requirements and that indeed is what happened and I heard dad just a little while ago the State Department announced they would begin to. Post some of my emails which I'm very glad to hear because I want it all out there we. Secretary yeah aunt Andrea and. Yes thank you and drink thank you madam secretary. Can you explain. How you decided which of the personal emails to. Get rid of how you got rid of them and when and how you respond to questions about you being the arbiter of what you release and secondly. Could you answer the questions have been raised about foreign contributions from. Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia that abuse women or permit violence against women to the Family Foundation and whether that disturbs you as you are. Brightly celebrating twenty years of leadership on this issue. Well those are two very different questions let me see if I can take them in order. Now give you some of them the background in. Going through the emails. And there were over 60000. In total. Sent and received about half. Were work related and went to the State Department. And about half wore personal. That were not in any way related to my work. I had no reason to save them but that was my decision because the federal guidelines are clear and the State Department request was clear. For any government employee it is that government employee's responsibility. To determine what's personal and what's work related. I eight and very. Confident of the process that week conducted. And the emails that were produced. And I feel like once the American public begins to see the emails. They will have an unprecedented insight into. Eight high government officials daily communications which I think will be quite interesting. With respect to the foundation I'm very proud of the work the foundation does. I'm very proud of the hundreds of thousands of people who support the work of the foundation. And the results that have been achieved. Four people here at home and around the world. And I think that we are. Very clear about where we stand certainly where I stand on all of these issues. There can't be any mistake about my passion. Concerning women's rights here at home and around the world. So I think that set people who want to less support the foundation. And know full well what it is we stand for what we're working on. I write here secretary just that she's sort of squash so the other. Hi I'm Terry I was wondering if you think that you made a mistake an ex either an exclusively using your private email or in the response to the controversy around it and if so what did you learn from that. Well I have to tell you that. As I said in my remarks. Looking back. It would it then. Probably. Help smarter to have used it to devices but. I have. Absolute confidence that everything that could be in any way. Connected to work is now in the possession of the State Department. I have to at even if I'd had two devices. Which is obviously permitted many people do that you would still have to put the responsibility where it belongs which is on the official so. I did it for convenience. And I. Now looking back think that it might have been smarter to have those two devices from the very beginning. Very. Did you or any of your needs delete any government related emails from your personal account and what what links are you willing to go to to prove that you didn't some people including supporters of viewers have suggested happening in independent arbiter. Look at your server for instance. We did not in fact my direction to. Conduct the thorough investigation was to air on the side of providing. Anything. That could be possibly. Viewed as work related. That doesn't mean they will be by the State Department wants the State Department goes through them but. Out of an abundance of caution and care you know we wanted to. Send that message. Unequivocally. That is the responsibility. Of the individual and I have fulfilled that responsibility. And I have no doubt that we've done exactly what we should have done. Win the search was conducted. We were asking that any email be identified and preserved that could potentially be federal records. And that's exactly what we did and we went as I said beyond that. And the process produced over 30000. You know work emails and I think that. We have more than met the request from the State Department. The server contains. Personal communications from my husband and me and I believe I have met all of my responsibilities. And the server. It will remain. Private and I think that the State Department will be eight. All over time to release all of the records that we're provide it. Right as secretary. Took follow ups you mentioned the server that's one of the distinctions here this wasn't. Gmail or Yahoo! or something this was a server that. You owned. Is that appropriate is it was or any precedent for it did you clearer with any State Department security officials. And did they have full did they have full access to it when you were secretary. And then separately will any of this have any bearing or facts on your timing of the decision about whether or not you run for president. Thank you well. The system we used was set up for. President Clinton's office and it had numerous safeguards. It was on property guarded by the Secret Service and there were no security preaches. So. I think that the the use. That server. Which started out with my husband certainly. Proved to be affected and secure. Now with respect to any sort of future. Future issue's. I trust the American people to make their decisions about. Political and public matters and I feel that I've taken unprecedented steps to. Provide these work related emails they're going to be in the public domain. And I think that. Americans will find that Ted you know interesting and I look forward to having a discussion about that. Yeah I. Then secretary. How the public be assured that when you deleted emails that were personal in nature that you didn't also delete emails that were professional but possibly. Unflattering and what do you think about this Republican. Idea of having an in departed independent third party come in. And examine your emails well first of all you have to ask that question to every single federal employee. Because the way the system works. The federal employees. The individual. Whether they have one device to device is three devices how many addresses they make the decision. So even if you have a work related. Device. With a work related dot gov account you choose what goes on that that is the way our system works and so. We trust and count on the judgment. Up thousands. Maybe millions of people to make those decisions and I feel. I did that and even more that I went above and beyond what I wise requested to do. And again those will be out in the public domain and people will be able to judge for themselves. Madam but. Madam secretary. Madam and madam secretary excuse me. Madam secretary of State Department rules the time you were secretary were perfectly clear that if the State Department employee. Was going to be using private email that employee need to turn those emails over the State Department to be preserved and on government computers. Why did you not do that why did you not go along. Which State Department rules until nearly two years after you left office. And also the president of the United States at that he was on aware. You had this than usual email arrangement of the White House Counsel's Office says that you never proved this arrangement through them. Why did you not do that why did you why do you apparently caught the White House by surprise and in just one last. The question of why I might does all of this make affect your decision in any way on whether or not to run for president. Well let let me try to unpack your multiple questions. First. The laws and regulations in effect when I was secretary. Of state. Allowed me to use my email for work that is undisputed. Secondly under the federal records act records are defined as reported information regardless of its form or characteristics. And in meeting the record keeping obligation it was my practice to email. Government officials on their state or other dot gov accounts so that the emails were immediately. Captured and preserved. Now. There are different rules governing. The White House than there are governing the rest of the executive branch. And in order to address the requirements I was under. I did exactly what I have sat I emailed. Two people and I not only knew I expected that then to be captured in the State Department or. Any other government agency that I was emailing to at eight dot account. What happened. In. Let's RI guess late summer. Early early fall is that the State Department sent a letter to former secretaries of state not just to me. Asking for some assistance in providing any. Work related emails that might be on the personal email. And what I did was to direct you know my counsel to. Conduct a thorough investigation and to. Air on the side. Providing any thing that could be connected to work. They did that and that was sad my obligation I fully fulfilled it and then I took the unprecedented step. A saying go ahead and release them and let people see them. Two months. Why fight. Over the little sleep. Nightly speaker's office. Clinton I'd I'd be happy if Samie talked to about the rules I fully complied with every rule that I was governor. You've ever remember specifically briefed in the security implications of using up using your own -- server. And using your personally dressed email with the president. I did not email any. Classified material to anyone on my email there is no classified material so I'm certainly well aware. The classification. Requirements and did not to send classified material. It. Because they. Were. Personal and private about matters that. I believed were within the scope. My personal. Privacy and that particularly of other people they add nothing to do with work. But I. Didn't to see any reason to keep them. End of the process. So what's the reason I. Nine hours ago because it is personal use of emails like David Shuster from out to see out the right I guys that are Scott duration being forced to resign David I think you should go online and read the entire. IG report that is not an accurate. Representation of what happened. Rick great then wrapping up their press comes to the UN addressing for the first time those questions about her personal email account and when she. Had set up on a personal server while she was secretary of state she says looking back was probably a mistake. To try to keep one email out of convenience she said rather than have a State Department official account as well she also said she is turned over. Any emails related to official business going erring on the side. Being inclusive there and wants the State Department to release those emails. And then added that offer personally analysis if she deemed personal she no longer hats I want to go to Matthew Dowd our ABC political analyst at an Austin, Texas today. How do you think she did did she answer the questions as she put this to rest. Will she answered some questions she did not put this to rest I think this is just actually exacerbated the process. In the course of this. George is you know. Money's the mother's milk of politics but trust is the blood and she understands that once this trust is question an error as a candidate Europe with the potential candidate. It's a huge problem you can tell in the fever. Pitch with which the press was asking the questions and wanted to continue as the questions. This is long from over and she asked to demonstrate through action. Transparency. Not just through words she's got a long process I had in the course today. The statement safer and has said those emails they have will be published once they go through security review. As you said that their likened to more questions thanks very much will be much more tonight on this on world news get in your seat. This has been a special were. For me he's.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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