Politics & Government

Clinton says FBI hasn't asked to interview her about email server

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally, Wednesday, March 30, 2016, at the Apollo Theatre in the Harlem neighborhood of New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally, Wednesday, March 30, 2016, at the Apollo Theatre in the Harlem neighborhood of New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) AP

WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton said Sunday that the FBI has not asked to question her about her use of a private email server when she was secretary of State, a controversy that has dogged her presidential candidacy.

FBI agents looking into possible mishandling of classified information have begun to set up interviews with Clinton's close aides, a sign that the inquiry is moving into its final phases.

Asked on NBC's "Meet the Press" if the FBI had asked her for an interview, Clinton replied: "No, no, they haven't."

Clinton said she would agree to be questioned about her sending and receiving work-related emails on a Blackberry linked to a potentially insecure server in the basement of her family home in Chappaqua, N.Y.

"Back in August, we made clear that I'm happy to answer any questions that anybody might have," she said. "And I stand by that."

The case has led private lawsuits for access to government records, and investigations by congressional committees and State Department. The inspector general for U.S. intelligence agencies referred the case to the FBI last summer after determining that some emails included classified information.

The FBI is trying to determine if a crime was committed in the handling of the secret material, and whether the basement server was hacked to gain access to email communications.

Clinton's campaign says she is innocent of any wrongdoing, and that other senior government officials also use private email. Her critics contend she ignored laws and regulations regarding classified material and the preservation of government documents.

The State Department has released thousands of pages of Clinton's emails and determined that 22 of her emails contained "top secret" information. None of the messages were marked classified when they were sent, however.

Investigators may seek to determine if Clinton knew that classified information was on her private server and whether her decision to use her personal email account amounts to mishandling of secret material.

Clinton said Sunday that her use of personal email was a "mistake," and she did so as "a matter of convenience," not to evade government regulations.

"I sent emails to government employees on their government accounts. I had every reason to believe they were in the government system. It was a matter of convenience. I've said repeatedly it was not the best choice. It was a mistake," she said.

Clinton said she is not concerned about whether the FBI will complete its investigation by the Democratic National Convention, which is scheduled for July 25 to 28 in Philadelphia.

"No, I'm not, because I don't think anything inappropriate was done," she said. "And so I have to let them decide how to resolve their security inquiry, but I'm not at all worried about it."

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