Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton held a Friday afternoon press conference where she addressed the latest story story questioning her State Department record.
She didn’t entirely appear to enjoy the entire experience.
When Fox News’ Ed Henry asked Clinton multiple questions, for example, she told him he was only “entitled” to one.
“Well, let me answer one of your questions because I think that is what you are entitled to,” she said, speaking in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the national Democratic Party held a gathering.
Among other things, Henry asked about a story ABC News’ Jonathan Karl published earlier that day that reported her husband, former President Bill Clinton, made some eyebrow-raising requests for information from her top aides while she was secretary of state in 2012.
Bill Clinton’s team asked if the State Department would approve a $US650,000 paid speaking engagement for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, whose problematic leader Joseph Kabila was labelled a “dictator” by Karl. Clinton wanted to know what the State Department thought if he donated all the money to the Clinton family foundation.
Additionally there was a request “related to” North Korea, whose government in Pyongyang is a fierce adversary of the US. ABC further reported that the invitation was somehow connected to Tony Rodham, Hillary Clinton’s brother who occasionally stumbles into controversies linked to his relatives’ government work.
But Clinton stressed to Henry on Friday that the State Department had a process to review all requests, no matter how “unusual.”
“The process that was set up in my years as secretary of state was for any request that my husband received to be sent to the State Department to be vetted. So it didn’t matter where it was coming from, it was going to go to the State Department. And there were some unusual requests but they all went through the process,” she said.
Clinton also suggested there may have been a noble purpose behind the North Korea request and pointed to her husband’s 2009 work to free two American journalists imprisoned in the country.
“Ed, I will say this,” she told Henry. “You might not recall, but President Obama sent my husband to North Korea to rescue the two journalists that had been captured. This was after a painstaking negotiation to try and convince the North Korean leader to release these two young women.”
Clinton said North Korea rebuffed every US request two free the two journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling. When Pyongyang finally suggested Bill Clinton come broker their release, she said, the US government was finally able to bring them back.
“I tell you that because that was a successful mission that accomplished its purpose,” Clinton added. “Now, I think it’s beyond unlikely that the State Department … would say, ‘You know, we think it’s a good idea for you to go back and see what more you can find out, see what more you can pick up.”
She noted that Bill Clinton did not ultimately accept either of the two invitations and then ended the press conference without taking further questions.
After the event, Republican operatives widely shared video of her telling Henry that he was only “entitled” to the single question.
“Wow, that turned ugly fast,” said Jeff Bechdel, a communications director for the research firm America Rising. The GOP group further wrote: “In what was another brutal press conference, Hillary Clinton decided to dodge questions, blame government processes, and ignore tough questions.”
Watch video of the exchange below:
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