NEW YORK >> Hillary Rodham Clinton is opening up about her email practices as secretary of state, after days of silence and intensifying calls from Democrats as well as Republicans to address the matter.
The potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate planned to discuss her use of a private email account following a speech at the United Nations, and was expected to take questions, according to a person familiar with Clinton’s thinking. The person spoke on condition of anonymity and was not authorized to speak on the record.
Clinton ignored the issue at a forum Monday while fellow Democrats urged her to speak out about conducting business in a private email account while secretary of state. Republicans are ramping up their attention on the issue.
Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois — the No. 2 Senate Democrat — became the first member of his party’s leadership to call on Clinton to address the issue. “I think it’s only fair to say to Hillary Clinton: ‘Tell us your side of the story,'” Durbin said Tuesday on MSNBC. “What did you put on this personal email?”
Also on Tuesday, the five Democrats on the House panel investigating the fatal 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, asked the State Department to make public some of Clinton’s emails that recently were provided to the committee. They wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry and urged him to make a priority of the 850 pages of documents that the department gave to the panel.
The State Department is reviewing 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton has turned over, and Republicans in Congress have said they plan to review her email practices.
The White House has said that President Barack Obama learned only recently that Clinton was using a privately run server for emailing during her tenure and that she was using private email for all official business. He was aware of the account’s existence before because the two had exchanged emails using it.
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said Clinton should turn the server itself over to an “independent arbiter.”
The planned news conference would be her first since she left the State Department in early 2013. She gave several TV interviews during her book tour last year, frequently conducts question-and-answer sessions with moderators during speaking engagements and briefly answered questions from reporters at an Iowa event in September.
Clinton is under scrutiny over whether she fully complied with federal laws requiring government officials to preserve written communications involving official business. By using her own email server, traced to an Internet connection registered to her hometown in Chappaqua, New York, she gained more control over her email than she would have had using a government server.
During the past week, the State Department has faced a torrent of questions about Clinton’s email practices and has increasingly referred them to Clinton and her team.
Last week, Clinton said in a Twitter message that she wanted her emails released by the State Department as soon as possible — but did not address why she does not put them out herself. Clinton’s spokesmen and the State Department have said she never received or transmitted classified information on her private account, in which case there would be no concerns that disclosure of her messages could compromise national security.
Clinton is approaching a public decision on a 2016 presidential campaign and remains the leading prospect for the Democratic nomination if she seeks the White House again.
Republicans noted a State Department policy requiring all outgoing employees to turn over job-related materials before leaving. The policy required such employees to sign a “separation statement” declaring they had “surrendered to responsible officials all unclassified documents” related to official business during their employment.
Priebus said the “fact that Hillary Clinton did not abide by the same rules her State Department employees had to comply with is just the latest example of how the Clintons think the rules don’t apply to them.” It was not immediately clear if Clinton signed the agreement, but State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the secretary of state is supposed to follow such department policies.
Associated Press writers Jill Colvin in New York and Steve Peoples in Washington contributed to this report.