State Department officials said Tuesday that their request that Hillary Clinton turn over thousands of work-related emails from her time as secretary of state was prompted by the disclosure that Clinton had used a private e-mail account to handle her correspondence, according to a published report.
The Washington Post also reported late Tuesday that the State Department first contacted Clinton about turning over the emails at least three months before it made similar requests of three of her predecessors: Madeline Albright, Colin Powell, and Condoleezza Rice.
The Post report contradicts Clinton's implication that she had turned over the emails as part of a standard record-keeping request.
"When we were asked to help the State Department make sure they had everything from other secretaries of state, not just me, I’m the one who said, ‘Okay, great, I will go through them again,'" Clinton said in an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS' "Face The Nation." "And we provided all of them."
State Department spokesman John Kirby told the Post that officials first asked Clinton to provide her emails in the summer of 2014 in response to document requests from the House select committee investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Kirby added that the State Department realized that "we similarly did not have extensive email records from prior Secretaries of State and therefore included them when we requested their records in October 2014."
The Post quoted one State Department official as saying "We realized there was a problem" when the department's congressional affairs office found Clinton's personal e-mail address on documents related to the Benghazi attack, but could not find a government e-mail account for her.
Clinton ultimately turned over about 30,000 work-related emails to the department this past December, but said she had deleted another 30,000 emails she deemed personal from the server. Late Tuesday, Bloomberg and The New York Times reported that some of those emails had been recovered by FBI investigators.
Clinton was asked about the discrepancies between her account of the e-mail requests and that of the State Department in a meeting with The Des Moines Register editorial board.
"I don't know that. I can't answer that," Clinton answered, according to the paper. "All I know is that they sent the same letter to everybody. That's my understanding."
When a Register reporter described what the Post was reporting, Clinton repeated, "You're telling me something I don't know. All I know is what I have said. What I have said is it was allowed. The State Department has confirmed that. The same letter went to, as far as I know, my predecessors, and I'm the one who said, 'Hey, I'll be glad to help.'
"But we'll give you additional information as we get it."
The FBI is currently investigating whether classified information that passed through Clinton's private, so-called "homebrew" server was mishandled. Clinton and her campaign has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
"Due to her practice of emailing her colleagues on their state.gov email addresses, 90 percent of her work-related correspondence occurred on the department's email system, and she provided her copies as well, about 55,000 pages total." Clinton campaign spokesman Nick Merrill told the Register. "Everything she has said in answering questions has been consistent with this."