Hillary Clinton, having faced weeks of criticism for ducking the press since entering the presidential race, finally broke her media silence Tuesday, fielding multiple questions from reporters during a stop in Iowa — addressing, albeit briefly, the two controversies dogging her campaign.
On the controversy surrounding her use of a private email address and server while secretary of state, Clinton insisted: “I want those emails out.”
On questions about the transparency surrounding foreign-government donations to the family foundation, Clinton said she’s “proud” of the organization, and the donations just show that others are supportive of the work it does.
While the Democratic presidential candidate’s responses may not have been surprising, her engagement with the press marks a departure from the way she’s run her campaign since entering the race a month ago.
She largely has kept to low-key, tightly orchestrated campaign events, eliciting concerns from reporters and criticism from Republicans that she’s staying inside a “bubble.”
Clinton has done no formal interviews since entering, while occasionally fielding a question bounced at her from the press corps.
Tuesday’s back-and-forth was one of the most extensive Q&A’s since she held a press conference addressing the email scandal — before declaring her candidacy.
On the email controversy, Clinton on Tuesday insisted the matter is in the State Department’s hands and said she wants them released as soon as possible.
“Nobody has a bigger interest in getting them released than I do.” Asked if she would demand their release, Clinton said of the emails, “They’re not mine. They belong to the State Department.”
Clinton reiterated her push to release the emails shortly after a federal judge rejected the State Department’s proposal to disseminate portions of the emails by next January and said the agency must instead conduct a “rolling production” of the records.
The court ordered the department to produce the schedule for that rollout by next week, and a department spokesman said they would comply.
Clinton spoke after a small business event for her campaign in Iowa, the home of the nation’s first presidential caucuses. The disclosure that she conducted State Department business on a private email account has been a controversy from the very inception of her campaign this year and raised questions about her commitment to transparency.
More questions were raised Tuesday after The New York Times published emails showing she may have had a second personal email address, despite claims she only used one as secretary of state.
During the Tuesday court hearing, a federal judge gave the State Department a week to craft a schedule for releasing the records, according to Vice News lawyer Jeffrey Light.
The agency made its initial proposal in a federal court filing Monday night, in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Vice News.
In the filing, John F. Hackett, who is responsible for the department’s responses to FOIA requests, said that following a review of the emails, the department will post the releasable portions of the 55,000 pages on its website. He said the review will take until the end of the year — and asked the court to adopt a completion date of Jan. 15, 2016, to factor in the holidays. That’s just a couple of weeks before the Iowa caucuses and early state primaries that follow.
In Monday night’s filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Hackett said the State Department received the 55,000 pages of emails from Clinton in paper form. Aside from those, Clinton’s office has deleted about 30,000 emails deemed personal.