At the White House today, Press Secretary Josh Earnest tried to avoid direct answers about the revelation that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used private email accounts to conduct all of her government business.
Earnest told reporters that Clinton and the State Department “complied with the guidelines” of the Federal Records Act by submitting thousands of emails back to the State Department after she left office.
“Secretary Clinton’s team has taken the necessary steps, according to them – you should go ask them to confirm this, according to them, that’s what they have done,” he said.
He repeated that Clinton turned thousands of her emails in her private account back over to the State Department, and said that was consistent with the requirements of the federal register.
“I was not in a position to review Secretary Clinton’s personal email, that was the responsibility of Secretary Clinton and her team. That is what they said that they did,” Earnest said.
When questioned by reporters, Earnest would not say whether or not Clinton broke the law, or even if she ever emailed the president during her time in office. He also wouldn’t confirm whether or not her private email address raised any flags in the West Wing.
“I know that the Secretary of State did trade emails with some senior officials in the White House,” he said. He specified couldn’t say whether other cabinet level officials used private email accounts to conduct business.
When pressed by reporters, Earnest told them to ask former Clinton staffers or officials at the State Department for more details.
“Please do not refer me to the State Department,” White House reporter Jon Karl quipped as he grilled Earnest on the issue.
But Earnest offered very few additional details.
“What Secretary Clinton and her team have done is they have complied with the guidelines,” he said.
When Karl accused Clinton of “skirting” the requirements by having a private email address, Earnest replied, “I don’t think that it is fair for you to characterize it that way.”