Another former Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, has sided with Colin Powell against Hillary Clinton, saying she has “no recollection” of Powell advising Clinton to use private email, as Clinton had described to FBI investigators. Rice was a guest at the dinner party where the exchange between Powell and Clinton supposedly occurred.
The Rice statement came through her chief of staff at Stanford Univesity, Georgia Godfrey, who stated, “Dr. Rice isn’t doing any media right now. I can tell you, though, that she has no recollection of that conversation either.”
Powell pushed back against Clinton’s claims in unusually strong language, declaring at an event on Saturday that “her people are trying to pin it on me.”
He also pointed out that Clinton was using her controversial private email server “for a year before I sent her a memo telling her what I did.”
In that memo, Powell discussed using a private account for unclassified correspondence, but he never attempted anything like Clinton’s legally-dubious strategy of routing all personal and official correspondence, including classified documents, through an unsecured personal mail server.
The dinner party Clinton, Powell, and Rice are discussing was hosted by another former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, early in Clinton’s time at the State Department. Henry Kissinger was also in attendance.
According to Clinton-friendly author Joe Conason’s forthcoming book Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton, as excerpted by the New York Times, each of her predecessors offered Clinton a little advice at this dinner party. Powell supposedly “told her to use her own email, as he had done, except for classified communications, which he had sent and received via a State Department computer.”
Conason wrote that Powell said that “his use of personal email had been transformative for the Department,” which Clinton took as confirmation of her decision, made months previously, “to keep her personal account and use it for most messages.”
As the New York Times points out, the State Department had formulated clear standards that “using a private server in such a manner was neither allowed nor encouraged” due to “significant security risks” by the time Clinton became Secretary of State.