- The Washington Times - Friday, August 5, 2016

For the second time in a week, Hillary Clinton on Friday again directly contradicted FBI Director James Comey, defending her use of a private email server while secretary of state and telling an audience of journalists that “I never sent or received anything that was marked classified.”

Speaking at a joint conference of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Democratic presidential nominee refused to admit that she’d mishandled classified information in her private email account. While she again apologized for using a private server, she doubled down on her central defense — that she never sent or received any emails that were marked classified at the time, even though the FBI chief has told a different story.

“What we have here is pretty much what I have been saying throughout this whole year, and that is that I never sent or received anything that was marked classified,” she said. “If, in retrospect, some different agency said it should have been [classified] … that’s what this debate is about. But Director Comey said there was absolutely no intention on my part to either ignore or in any way dismiss the importance of those documents.”

In congressional testimony last month, Mr. Comey said more than 100 emails sent or received through Mrs. Clinton’s private account contained classified information, though the majority of them were not clearly marked.

Mr. Comey said three of the messages included markings indicating that they were classified, and he added that Mrs. Clinton may not have been “sophisticated” enough to understand those markings.

While Mrs. Clinton’s answer on Friday still isn’t consistent with what the FBI found, it’s still a step closer to the truth. The former first lady previously had said she never sent or received any classified information at all in her private account, a claim that has been thoroughly debunked.

Last Sunday, Mrs. Clinton also claimed that she never sent or received classified information in her private email account, saying that the messages had only been classified retroactively.

Those statements, made during an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” also contradicted Mr. Comey’s testimony.

The Trump campaign quickly responded to Mrs. Clinton’s comments, accusing the Democrat of “lying” repeatedly about her server.

“Hillary Clinton’s habitual lying about the use of her secret server to send and receive classified, top secret information shows her blatant disregard for national security and a continued pattern of bad judgment,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller said in a statement. “Clinton knows the actions she has taken are disqualifying for someone wishing to become commander in chief, and that is why today’s painful, pretzel-like response to a simple question about her illegal server was obvious to everyone watching.”

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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