- The Washington Times - Friday, September 4, 2015

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton declined a chance to apologize for her email practices Friday, saying it was not a good choice but was “fully aboveboard” and other government officials knew she was using it.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Mrs. Clinton also attacked Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump as “a bad development for our American political system.

“He’s great at innuendo and conspiracy theories and really defaming people. That’s not what I want to do in my campaign,” Mrs. Clinton said.

The interview, Mrs. Clinton’s first in weeks, was intended to try to stem some of the political bleeding she has suffered in the wake of questions over her use of her own email server to conduct government business.

She again insisted that she did not send or receive any material marked secret, saying the nearly 200 messages already released and marked classified were designated only after the fact and didn’t indicate she mishandled information.

“This was fully aboveboard, people knew I was using a personal email, I did it for convenience.”

SEE ALSO: Hillary Clinton’s favorability ratings near low as rivals rise

She said she was “sorry this has been confusing to people,” and said it was “a little frustrating” that it’s taking so long to release the emails. When they are all out and after she has a chance to testify to Congress next month, she said, she will have surmounted the controversy.

“The facts that I have put forth have remained the same. But, more important, the American people will know they can trust me,” she said.

She said she is not seeing the evidence of poor poll numbers when she is out on the campaign trail and that people show enthusiasm for her plans and approach.

Mrs. Clinton remains the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, but a recent poll found the word most commonly associated with her by voters was “liar,” followed by “dishonest.”

Asked by Ms. Mitchell about Mr. Trump, who has criticized top Clinton aide Huma Abedin for holding an outside job at the same time she worked for Mrs. Clinton at the State Department, Mrs. Clinton said the billionaire businessman has attacked many people unfairly.

“He is the candidate of being against. The vision I have of America is how we come together,” she said.

The Republican National Committee said Mrs. Clinton should have taken the opportunity Ms. Mitchell gave her to apologize for poor judgment in using the server.

“What’s clear is Hillary Clinton regrets that she got caught and is paying a political price, not the fact her secret email server put our national security at risk,” RNC spokesman Michael Short said.

Ms. Mitchell pressed Mrs. Clinton on the email issue for much of the interview, including wondering whether her now admittedly bad decision suggested a deeper problem with decision-making.

Mrs. Clinton waved that off, saying she hadn’t put much thought into her email system at the time she set it up.

“I was not thinking a lot when I got in,” she said, adding that she had bigger issues on her mind. “I didn’t really stop and think what kind of email system will there be.”

Mrs. Clinton explained a bit more about the way she decided which of the emails she would return to the government, saying it was her lawyers who went through, message-by-message, deciding what to keep.

She said they then printed them out and turned them over, as well as stored them on a flash drive held by her lawyer David Kendall.

That drive and her server have now been turned over to the FBI.

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