Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally in Pittsburgh on Saturday. Speaking to reporters Friday, Clinton said she "short-circuited" when she said the FBI director said her public statements about her private email server were "truthful." Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she "short-circuited" during an interview with Fox News anchor Chris Wallace when she claimed FBI Director James Comey validated her statements regarding her private email as "truthful."
In actuality, Comey called Clinton's handling of government information, some of it classified, "extremely careless." In subsequent testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Comey told Republicans in charge of the panel several of Clinton's statements regarding her email use while secretary of state were not backed up by the facts uncovered in their investigation.
Ultimately, Comey said the FBI found evidence there were a small number of emails that contained classified information that were handled by Clinton using her unencrypted personal email system, in violation of federal rules for handling high-level secrets. Comey declined to recommend Clinton be prosecuted, however, saying there was no evidence Clinton or her aides intended to skirt federal law or leak the information.
In an interview Sunday on Fox News, Clinton told Wallace that Comey's investigation vindicated her public statements about her email use, specifically that she never sent or received classified information.
Speaking to reporters Friday, Clinton backtracked, saying she misspoke on Fox and in a subsequent interview with a Colorado television station several days later.
Clinton said she had meant to point to Comey's statement that FBI investigators found her to be forthcoming and cooperative during their sit-down with her. Comey, however, said Clinton's past statements about never sending or receiving classified material were not accurate because investigators found several emails that did contain classified information, though it was not labeled properly, meaning Clinton may have not realized she had received it.
Clinton clarified her remarks to Wallace, saying she meant to tell him that her comments in private to the FBI were truthful and they were the same as ones she made in public -- not that Comey himself had validated her remarks as "truthful."
During his House testimony, Comey refused to make the value judgment that Clinton lied to the public about her email use, only stating the facts of his investigation did not back up some of her claims.
"I may have short-circuited it and for that, I, you know, will try to clarify because I think, you know, Chris Wallace and I were probably talking past each other," Clinton said.
She reiterated her past admission that she regrets having used the private email server and said it was a mistake.