The White House on Thursday tried to brush aside revelations over the last 48 hours that President Obama's top aides, including David Axelrod, communicated with Hillary Clinton via her private email address while she was secretary of state.

Eric Schultz, the president's deputy press secretary, said White House officials had previously said that it was likely that top White House aides had emailed Clinton on her private email account during her tenure at the State Department.

"We were very clear that it would not be surprising if White House officials had emailed the secretary of state in real time," Schultz told reporters traveling on Air Force One with Obama to Wisconsin on Thursday. He also said the federal government's rules deal with retaining documents, and stressed that Clinton took the necessary steps to hold onto her emails.

The White House, however, hasn't been exactly forthcoming about whether Obama's top aides knew that she was using a private email account from a private server exclusively during her State Department tenure.

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