Hillary Clinton restated her claim Friday that the FBI assessed her as "truthful" in investigations into her handling of classified material over a private email server, saying she didn't elaborate enough when she used that characterization during a weekend interview with Fox News.
"I was pointing out … that [FBI] Director [James] Comey had said that my answers in my FBI interview were truthful. That's really the bottom line here," Clinton said at a press availability Friday. "And I have said, during the interview and in many other occasions over the past months, that what I told the FBI—which he said was truthful—is consistent with what I have said publicly. So, I may have short-circuited, and for that I will try to clarify, because I think Chris Wallace and I were probably talking past each other, because, of course, he could only talk to what I had told the FBI, and I appreciated that."
In the Fox News interview, Clinton said, "Director Comey said my answers were truthful, and what I've said is consistent with what I have told the American people, that there were decisions discussed and made to classify retroactively certain of the emails."
Clinton also claimed innocence on account of the FBI declining to say that she had intentionally passed along information marked as classified in her email.
"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. "Now, if in retrospect … some different agency said but it should have been [marked classified], though it wasn't, it should have been, that's what the 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, because they weren't marked classified. So that would have been hard to do."
Despite Clinton's intentionality defense, the FBI still rebuked her and her team for their carelessness in the handling of 110 emails in 52 chains that passed through her unsecure server.
"Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information," Comey said July 5.
According to the FBI's investigation, eight of the email chains that passed through Clinton's server contained information that was marked "Top Secret" at the time they were sent. Thirty-six of them contained "Secret" information at the time, and eight contained "Confidential" information.
Clinton tried to deflect attention from the issue Friday by focusing on the small number of sensitive emails that came into her care relative to the 30,000 emails produced to the State Department. But on the day Comey revealed his agency's findings, he dismissed that as an insufficient excuse.
"Only a very small number of the e-mails containing classified information bore markings indicating the presence of classified information. But even if information is not marked 'classified' in an e-mail, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it," Comey said.