Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday she exclusively used a personal email account at work for “convenience” because it was allowed and “at the time this didn’t seem like an issue,” in her first public remarks about the growing controversy over her government emailing practices.
“I opted for convenience to use my personal email account. I thought it would be easier to carry one device for my work and personal email account,” Clinton told reporters Tuesday at a hastily arranged press conference at the United Nations following a speech on women’s rights Tuesday afternoon.
“At the time, this didn’t seem like an issue,” she said, adding that “looking back I think it might have been smarter to have [used] two devices from the beginning.”
Questions about the expected future Democratic presidential nominee’s email habits while she served as the nation’s top diplomat have swirled for the past week, after the New York Times first reported that she relied exclusively on her own personal email account while in office.
And her answers Tuesday may not do much to quiet concerns that the famously secretive Clinton used the private email account to keep any potentially embarrassing emails under wraps.
Clinton said there were about 60,000 emails sent or received on the account, but thousands of those were personal and weren’t turned over to State Department officials. Those private emails included things like her daughter’s wedding planning and invitations to do yoga, she said.
She said her email server will remain private and rejected calls by Republicans to turn over the server to an independent party to review the emails. She said she had deleted emails that weren’t related to work.
“I feel that I’ve taken unprecedented steps to provide these work-related emails” to State Department officials, she said.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday that department officials are currently reviewing the 55,000 pages of Clinton emails and will release them in a bulk data dump when that review is complete. She said that’s expected to take several months. Emails related to the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, which have already been handed over to congressional investigators, will be released earlier, she said.
Clinton has long been criticized by conservatives, but it has been the increasingly vocal concerns raised by Democrats that are believed to have convinced her to address the controversy more directly. Her only previous comment on the issue came last Wednesday when she tweeted that she wanted “the public to see my email. I asked State to release them.”
On Sunday, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that her “silence is going to hurt her” and urged the former First Lady “to say what the situation is.”
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois agreed on MSNBC Tuesday morning that he would “like to hear her explanation. I think Dianne Feinstein was right. She should come forward and explain the situation.”
The White House confirmed Monday that President Obama had emailed with Clinton while she was Secretary of State.
Earlier today, a White House spokesman told reporters that the president’s emails would have been preserved under the Presidential Records Act and the State Department is reviewing them.
White House press spokesman Eric Schultz wouldn’t say whether President Obama has his own private email account. One of the security precautions the White House takes is “not talking about it much publicly,” he said.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.