President Obama said Sunday that Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server to conduct her correspondence while secretary of state was a "mistake," but denied that U.S. national security had been jeopardized as a result.
"She made a mistake. She has acknowledged it. I do think that the way it's been ginned up is in part because of politics," Obama said in an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes." "I think she'd be the first to acknowledge that maybe she could have handled the original decision better and the disclosures more quickly."
Obama added that he was not initially aware that Clinton was using the private server, which was kept at her home in Chappaqua, N.Y., as opposed to a professional data center. When CBS' Steve Kroft pointed out that the Obama administration has prosecuted people for having classified material on their private computers, the president said he didn't get the impression there was an intent to "hide something or to squirrel away information."
The FBI is currently investigating whether classified information that passed through Clinton's server was mishandled. Last week, the bureau extended its investigation to obtaining data from a second tech company, which had been hired by another firm in 2013 to back up data on Clinton's server.
Meanwhile, the State Department is in the process of releasing monthly batches of the 30,000 emails Clinton deemed "work-related" and handed over following her tenure as America's top diplomat. Clinton has said that she deemed another 30,000 messages on the server to be "personal" and deleted them from the server. An intelligence source close to the investigation told Fox News last month that the FBI has "the highest degree of confidence" that those "personal" emails are being recovered.
Republicans have demanded to know if any of those emails were really work-related emails that should have been turned over to the State Department along with other federal records.
In addition, Senate investigators recently discovered that Clinton's private server was subjected to unspecified hacking attempts in 2013 from China, South Korea and Germany.
Clinton, who remains the front-runner for the Democratic nomination despite seeing her once-overwhelming lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders shrink in the polls, has yet to answer specific questions about the security protections in her unusual email setup.
"What I think is that it is important for her to answer these questions to the satisfaction of the American public," Obama said Sunday. "And they can make their own judgment."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.