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Clinton Violated Policies By Using Private Email, State Department Report Says


Hillary Clinton's campaign is under a familiar shadow this morning. The top watchdog for the State Department is releasing a report critical of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server for official business while secretary of state. Here's NPR's Tamara Keith.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hillary Clinton was in California with some sharp new attack lines for Donald Trump and a big announcement her campaign hoped would make headlines.


HILLARY CLINTON: In my first 100 days, I will send a plan to Congress to make the biggest, most forward-looking investment in American infrastructure in 50 years.


KEITH: But infrastructure isn't what the political world was talking about yesterday. Instead, Hillary Clinton's campaign was on defense. And Trump had fresh material.


DONALD TRUMP: She's as crooked as they come. She had a little bad news today, as you know, from - some reports came down - weren't so good. But - not so good - the inspector general's report - not good.

KEITH: What the State Department inspector general's report says is Clinton violated department policies when she used her personal email account and private server to conduct official business. It says she didn't seek approval for the arrangement and if she had, it wouldn't have been granted because of security concerns. The report also outlines widespread problems, both with email practices and records retention, that extend beyond Clinton. And that's something Clinton Press Secretary Brian Fallon emphasized in an appearance on CNN.


BRIAN FALLON: At the time that she took office and for the duration of her tenure there, the use of personal email for work purposes was not disallowed. And, in fact, as documented in great detail by the report, personal email was utilized by 90-plus different top officials at the State Department over the years that they looked at, including two other secretaries of state besides Hillary Clinton.

KEITH: State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters there's been an evolving understanding of how email should be handled.

MARK TONER: While not necessarily encouraged, there was no prohibition on using personal email.

KEITH: And since Clinton left the department, Toner said, the rules have both changed and been clarified.

TONER: Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, you know, we do now have records management and cybersecurity policies that would make it hard to approve this kind of outside system to replace your official email.

KEITH: The inspector general's report doesn't materially change the email controversy or reveal new facts. But it is a reminder of a bad decision that has been a weight on Clinton's campaign since before she even announced she was running. And it comes at a challenging time for the Democratic front-runner. She's fighting on two fronts, taking daily barrages from Trump but also still competing with Bernie Sanders. A new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California found Clinton and Sanders virtually tied in the state, where she once led by double digits. Tamara Keith, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.