- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 31, 2016

Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton, hoping to stanch damaging news about her use of private email as secretary of state, said Sunday she has nothing to hide in messages that have been deemed “top secret” and will be withheld from the public.

“There is no classified, marked information on those emails sent or received by me,” Mrs. Clinton told ABC’s “This Week.”

The State Department said Friday it is withholding 22 emails from Mrs. Clinton’s private account for containing “top secret” material, plus another 18 messages she exchanged with President Obama, saying those are protected communications.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said none of the emails had information marked classified at the time Mrs. Clinton sent or received them, but he added that the department is still looking into whether they should have been at the time.

The Clinton campaign disagreed with the decision to withhold the email chains, calling it “over-classification run amok.”

“The best answer to all of this is [to] release and disclose this material,” Mrs. Clinton told ABC.

The news dump couldn’t have come at a worse time for Mrs. Clinton, who maintains a 3 percentage point lead over upstart primary challenger, Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders, ahead of the Democratic caucuses in Iowa on Monday.

Her potential Republican challengers piled on over the weekend, saying Mrs. Clinton should be disqualified from the race because she might face criminal prosecution.

Mrs. Clinton refused to buy into conspiracy theories Sunday, though she characterized the development as an “inter-agency dispute” that’s vulnerable to the winds of politics.

“I just have to point out the timing, and some of the leaks that have led up to it, are concerning,” Mrs. Clinton said.

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