Clinton on Email Scandal: "I'm Just Happy It's Over," "The End Of A Very Difficult Period"

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In a joint interview with her running mate Tim Kaine, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton told ABC's David Muir she is happy the e-mail controversy is "over."

"What I did has raised questions for people," Clinton acknowledged. "And I deeply regret that. And that’s why I said there’s no excuses. I took responsibility a year ago. I take responsibility today. I made a mistake. I’ve apologized for it. And I’m just happy it’s over, because that’s, you know, the end of what’s been, you know, a very difficult period."

Transcript of the interview, via ABC News:

MUIR: Let me ask you about your emails.

CLINTON: Yes.

MUIR: It was a year ago, Secretary Clinton, you sat across from me and you said not only it was a mistake--

CLINTON: Right.

MUIR: But that you were sorry--

CLINTON: Right.

MUIR: A year later, we sit together again and the issue hasn’t gone away. The FBI just released documents on its own investigation into your emails and you are aware that in the report you told FBI investigators that you were either unaware or misunderstood some of the classification procedures. We also read about an aide who got rid of old Blackberries using a hammer, taking a hammer to a Blackberry. When Americans hear that do you think that feeds into what the FBI director said when he said about you that you were extremely careless with your emails?

CLINTON: Well, I hope not, because I take classification very seriously. Always have. Ever since I was on the Senate Armed Services Committee some years ago. And what I want people to understand is really two things. I take responsibility, I have learned that trying to explain what happened made it sound to some people like I was trying to excuse it. There are no excuses. I take responsibility, I made a mistake, I’ve apologized and obviously I wish I could do differently what happened. I certainly would never do that again.

With respect to classification, on classified documents there is what’s called a header. It says this material is top secret, secret or confidential. There were no headers on the thousands of emails that I sent or received, there just weren’t and the FBI has not in any way contradicted that. There were a couple of emails with a tiny C in a parenthesis, which did not have a header saying that means confidential in this circumstance and which the director of the FBI has said, and the state department has said, those couple of emails were improperly marked even with that. So yes, I take classification seriously and I think the record shows that I have.

MUIR: But authorities say that C stood for confidential.

CLINTON: Well, but the C--this is very arcane for most people. There was no header that the document that the little C appeared in was marked confidential, which is the lowest form of classification.

MUIR: So what you’re saying, it was deeper in the email.

CLINTON: Oh, of course. Absolutely. And that’s what the director said and what the state department said is that those couple of documents -- we’re talking about two three documents out of thousands of documents -- were improperly marked. In other words, that should not have even been on it.

So I’m glad that the FBI has released this material. Our campaign called for them to release it. Because we didn't want selective cherry picking and leaks coming from Republicans on the Hill. We wanted people to be able to see it and at the end of all of their investigation the FBI concluded there was no basis for any further action.

MUIR: The director also though you were extremely careless. Do you agree with him?

CLINTON: Well, I respectfully disagree because what that really comes down to is whether material that was not marked classified in someone else’s opinion in retrospect should have been. And I think the people in the state department, professionals with lots of experience and expertise who were handling this material and sending it to me, they made their best judgements.

KAINE: David, I think just real quick, an important-- two important things about that FBI report that came out was, it was a lengthy report that basically demonstrates why they did not think this was a matter that deserved any additional steps, any additional action, first. And second, the report only came out because Hillary said, well look, if Congress wants it, let the American public see it. Contrast that, give this to the American public, with what the American public has been asking of Donald Trump for months now: commit to do what you promised to do in 2014. If you run for president, he said, if I run, I promise I’ll release tax returns.

And so this is out there because Hillary said put it out there, let the American public see it. It explains what the FBI thought, that no additional steps were needed. And it’s in sharp contrast with Donald Trump, who had promised to give tax returns and is refusing to do that.

CLINTON: But having said all that, and I obviously agree with Tim. Look, I have absolutely no doubt that, you know, what I did has raised questions for people. And I deeply regret that. And that’s why I said there’s no excuses. I took responsibility a year ago. I take responsibility today. I made a mistake. I’ve apologized for it. And I’m just happy it’s over, because that’s, you know, the end of what’s been, you know, a very difficult period.

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