Hillary Rodham Clinton’s quest for her party’s presidential nomination took a new turn Friday with a high-profile bid to defuse the controversy over her use of a private email server when she was secretary of state.
In a long and rare interview with NBC news, Clinton, 67, went over well-travelled ground, defending the legality of her decision to use private email, which officials say sometimes was of a classified nature.
But the headlines that greeted her performance told a different story: “Hillary Clinton refuses to apologize for email choices,” wrote The Hill newspaper.
“The Democratic front-runner declines to directly apologize,” wrote Politico.
Clinton was asked twice in the NBC interview if she was sorry that she had used the private email account and server, which was stored in her home basement.
While conceding it “wasn’t the best choice,” she only said she was “sorry that this has been confusing to people and has raised a lot of questions.”
“But there are answers to all these questions,” she said.
Clinton’s use of private email has raised questions about transparency, technical security and the handling of sensitive email relating to the deadly 2012 attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya, and other issues.
After appearing nearly unbeatable for the 2016 Democratic nomination when she launched her campaign earlier this year, Clinton has lost ground to left-wing challenger Bernie Sanders.
In the meantime, Vice President Joe Biden, still mourning the death of his adult son from cancer, is openly weighing his own campaign for the Democratic nomination.
“The most relevant factor in my decision is whether my family and I have the emotional energy to run,” Biden told a crowd in Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday, according to media reports. “The honest to God answer is I just don’t know.”
He said that if it appeared he could launch a “viable” campaign, he “would not hesitate to do it.” But it would be an “arduous commitment,” the 72-year-old said.
Biden’s most recent bid for the nomination was in 2008, when he lost to President Barack Obama.
The FBI has taken control of Clinton’s server and thumb drives storing backup data, and is investigating her email set-up. The number of potentially classified emails that passed through her private system is now estimated to be more than 300.
The State Department has been releasing tranches from Clinton’s estimated 55,000-page email archive, raising the issue anew with every batch.
To add to the controversy, a former aide who helped set up the private email server is reportedly not cooperating with State Department and FBI investigations, according to The Hill newspaper.