Clinton 'pleased' to speak with FBI in email probe

Hillary Clinton delivering a keynote speech at the International Women's Luncheon at the 50th Rainbow PUSH Coalition convention.
Hillary Clinton delivering a keynote speech at the International Women's Luncheon at the 50th Rainbow PUSH Coalition convention.PHOTO: EPA

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Hillary Clinton says she was "pleased" to speak with the FBI about her use of personal email while serving as secretary of state, but refused to discuss reports that she will not face charges.

In an interview aired Sunday, Clinton acknowledged it was unwise for her husband to meet with America's top law enforcement officer, with the encounter coming in the midst of the FBI investigation that has dogged her campaign to become the first female president of the United States.

"Hindsight is 20/20," Clinton told NBC's "Meet the Press" program, noting that both Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch have said they would not do it again.

The pair held an impromptu meeting at the airport in Phoenix, Arizona this week.

Clinton, who was interviewed by the FBI on Saturday for about 3.5 hours, refused to speculate on the timeline or possible conclusions of the FBI investigation, and would not comment on reports saying she would not be charged.

"I was eager to do it and I was pleased to have the opportunity to assist the department in bringing its review to a conclusion," Clinton said.

She has apologized for exclusively using a private email account and her own server during her time as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

Opponents argue that this breached rules about protecting classified documents from cyber attack and may have amounted to a crime.

The latest NBC News/WSJ poll shows Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump with a strong lead over Clinton - 41 percent to 25 percent - on honesty and trustworthiness.

"I'm going to continue to put forth my record, what I have stood for, do everything I can to earn the trust of the voters of our country. I know that's something that I'm going to keep working on, and I think that's, you know, a clear priority for me," she said.

"When you've been in the eye of the tornado for as long as I have, I know there's a lot of incoming fire, I accept that." The interview came on the long Independence Day weekend when most Americans are preoccupied with family and friends, and before the Democratic National Convention where Clinton is set to be officially named the party's presidential nominee.

"Timing of FBI interview, between primaries and convention, probably good timing for @HillaryClinton. Best to get it behind her," ex-White House aide David Axelrod commented on Twitter.

Clinton, who declined to comment further on the probe, promised that "I will continue to be as forthcoming as I can." "I've been answering questions now for over a year. I've released more than 55,000 pages of my emails for the public to read for themselves," she said.

Lynch has acknowledged that the tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton last Monday "cast a shadow" over the investigation into his wife's use of emails just months before the November general election.

Lynch said she would respect the decisions of the FBI and prosecutors on whether to charge Hillary Clinton.

The former top US diplomat said she learned of the meeting "in the news." "It was a short, chance meeting that occurred. They did not discuss the Department of Justice's review. I know that some have nonetheless viewed the meeting in a different light," Clinton said.

She said planes carrying her husband and Lynch apparently landed at about the same time. They exchanged hellos and chatted about grandchildren, golf and their mutual friend and former attorney general Janet Reno, Hillary Clinton said.