Just a day before the Iowa caucuses, Hillary Clinton compared the recent controversy over her emails deemed to contain “top secret” information by the State Department to Republican attacks over Benghazi.
The State Department on Friday refused to release 22 of the former Secretary of State’s emails, deeming they contained “top secret” information. It’s unclear what information was in those emails, but it was the first time the State Department acknowledged Clinton’s email correspondence contained “top secret” information, pushing the issue back into the spotlight just days before the first votes of the 2016 election are cast.
“This is very much like Benghazi,” Clinton said during an exclusive interview on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” “Republicans are going to continue to use it, beat up on me. I understand that. That’s the way they are.”
The House Select Committee on Benghazi investigated the 2012 attack in Libya that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans and questioned the former Secretary of State in October. Clinton referenced her testimony on Capitol Hill when asked about the controversy over her emails.
“After eleven hours of testimony, answering every single question in public, which I had requested for many months, I think it’s pretty clear they’re grasping at straws and this will turn out the same way,” she said.
The State Department’s decision came as Clinton is in a tough race in Iowa against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The final poll released before Monday’s caucuses by the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics show the two candidates neck-and-neck with Clinton holding a three-point lead over Sanders within the margin of error.
In a separate interview on “This Week,” Sanders declined to attack Clinton over her email use, though he did say she was “getting slapped” by the controversy.
Clinton also asserted no emails with “classified marked information” were sent or received by her during her tenure as Secretary of State. When asked if she believed the release of her emails was political posturing by Republicans, as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. have suggested, Clinton deferred to their comments.
“I’m going to leave that to others who are quite experienced in the ways of Washington to comment on,” she said. “I just have to point out that the timing and some of the leaks that have led up to it are concerning.”
Clinton again said she wanted all of her emails to be released so people to make their own judgments.
“I just want this matter resolved,” Clinton said. “The best way to resolve is to do what I asked months ago — release these, let the public see them, and let’s move on.”