Hillary Clinton defended her use of a private email server for official correspondence while US secretary of state on Thursday (May 26), insisting her actions were no different than that of her predecessors.
One day after the release of a critical State Department investigation faulting her use of personal email for government business, Clinton vowed that she would not allow the issue to dog her campaign.
"There may be reports that come out, but nothing has changed," the Democratic White House frontrunner told CNN. "It's the same story. Just like previous secretaries of state, I used a personal email. Many people did. It was not at all unprecedented."
In a subsequent interview with the television network, she repeated her acknowledgement that she made a "mistake," and that looking back she would have avoided such actions.
"As I said many times, it was a mistake and if I could go back, I would have done it differently," she said. "I understand why people have concerns about this, but I hope voters look at the full picture of everything that I've done."
The issue has dogged Clinton for more than a year, and has been used by her political enemies, including her presumed Republican opponent in the White House race, Donald Trump, to question her trustworthiness and honesty - character traits that many voters already had expressed doubts about in opinion polls.
Trump, celebrating reaching the milestone of 1,237 delegates necessary to clinch the nomination, assailed Clinton's "bad judgment" about using a private email account and described the State Department inspector general's report as "devastating."
"This was all bad judgment," Trump told reporters in North Dakota. "Probably illegal."
Sounding slightly exasperated, Clinton insisted she has done everything possible to help put the controversy behind her.
"I have turned over all of my emails. No one else can say that. I've been incredibly open about doing that. I will continue to be open. And it's not an issue that is going to affect either the campaign or my presidency," she declared.
Clinton's use of a private server for official correspondence first came to light in 2015 during Republican-led congressional investigations into her handling of a militant attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya. The assault in 2012 left the US ambassador and three other Americans dead.
The FBI has since launched a criminal investigation amid Republican charges that use of the unsecured system endangered national security.
Clinton has maintained that none of her emails had been marked "classified" when she sent them and, after her own lawyers had removed mails they deemed purely personal, she submitted 52,000 pages of her emails to the State Department, which has reviewed all the documents.
Over several months, the State Department made the official emails public in batches, releasing the final tranche in late February.