Hillary Clinton confronted at a National Association of Black Journalists event about remark she made that FBI Director James Comey called the testimony she provided in the probe into her private server "truthful." She made the comment in an interview with Chris Wallace on last week's broadcast of FOX News Sunday. Clinton said that she "short-circuited."
Clinton, however, this time rephrased what she told the FBI was confirmed as "truthful" by Comey, which "is consistent" with what she has said publicly.
"I was pointing out in both of those instances that the director [of the FBI] Comey had said that my answers in my FBI interview were truthful," Clinton told journalist Kirsten Welker of NBC News. "That's really the bottom line here. And I have said during the interview and in many other occasions over the past months that what I told the FBI, which he said was truthful, is consistent with what I have said publicly."
"So I may have short-circuited it and for that I will try to clarify because I think [FOX News Sunday moderator] Chris Wallace and I were talking past each other because of course he could only talk to what I had told the FBI and I appreciated that," Clinton also said.
"Now, I have acknowledged repeatedly that using two e-mail accounts was a mistake," Clinton admitted.
"Having him say that my answers to the FBI were truthful and that I should quickly add what I said was consistent with what I had said publicly, and that’s really in my view trying to tie both ends together," she added.
"And so, what we have here is pretty much what I have been saying throughout this whole year and that is that I never sent or received anything that was marked classified," Clinton once again claimed.
Hillary Clinton maintains: 'I never sent or received anything that was marked classified' https://t.co/tPcowFOaWL— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 5, 2016
Transcript, via NBC:
WELKER: Madam Secretary, your poll numbers went way up this week, and yet, the e-mail controversy was still in the headlines. So I want to give you the opportunity to respond. This week, you told two separate news organizations that FBI director James Comey said, quote, my answers were truthful and that what I said is consistent with what I have told the American people.
That assertion, as you know, has been debunked by multiple news organizations which point out that Director Comey did say there's no indication that you lied but to the FBI, but he didn't weigh in on whether or not you were truthful to the American people. So my question for you is, are you mischaracterizing Director Comey's testimony, and is this not undercutting your efforts to rebuild trust with the American people?
CLINTON: Look, Kristen, I appreciate you're asking that because I was pointing out in both of those instances, that the Director Comey had said that my answers in my FBI interview were truthful. That's really the bottom line, here. And I have said, during the interview, and in many other occasions over the past months, that what I told the FBI, which he said was truthful, is consistent with what I have said publicly. So I may have short circuited it, and for that, I, you know, will try to clarify, because I think Chris Wallace and I were probably talking past each other because of course, he could only talk to what I had told the FBI and I appreciated that.
Now, I have acknowledged repeatedly that using two e-mail accounts was a mistake and I take responsibility for that. But I do think, you know, having him say that my answers to the FBI were truthful and then I should quickly add, what I said was consistent with what I had said publicly. And that's really sort of in my view trying to tie both ends together.
WELKER: Is the one inconsistency, though, that you said you never sent or received classified material? And he did say there were three e-mails that were marked classified at the time. Is that an inconsistency?
CLINTON: Here are the facts behind that as well. You know that I preside -- I sent over 30,000 e-mails to the State Department that were work-related e-mails. Director Comey said that only three out of 30,000 had anything resembling classified markers. What does that mean? Well, usually, if any of you have ever served in the government, a classified document has a big heading on the top which makes very clear what the classification is.
And in questioning, Director Comey made the point that the three e-mails out of the 30,000 did not have the appropriate markings. And it was therefore reasonable to conclude that anyone, including myself, would have not suspected that they were classified. And in fact, I think that has been discussed by others who have said two out of those three were later explained by the State Department not to have been in any way confidential at the time that they were delivered.
So, that leaves the 100 out of 30,000 e-mails that Director Comey testified contained classified information, but again, he acknowledged there were no markings on those 100 e-mails. And so, what we have here is pretty much what I have been saying throughout this whole year and that is that I never sent or received anything that was marked classified.
Now, if in retrospect, which is what is behind the 100 number -- if in retrospect, some different agency said, but it should have been, although it wasn't, it should have been, that's what the debate is about. But, Director Comey said there was absolutely no intention on my part to either ignore or in any way dismiss the importance of those documents because they weren't marked classified. So that would have been hard to do. And I will go back to where I started. I regret using one account. I've taken responsibility for that. But I'm pleased to be able to clarify and explain what I think the bottom line is on this.