Univision debate moderator Jorge Ramos confronted Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton Wednesday over her email scandal, directly asking her if she would drop out of the race for her party’s nomination if she were indicted.
The former secretary of state refused to answer the question.
“Oh, for goodness,” she started when Ramos pressed her on the issue after she initially danced around it. “It’s not going to happen. I’m not even answering that question.”
The FBI has been looking into whether any classified material was mishandled during Clinton’s tenure at the State Department from 2009 to 2013. The agency has said, however, that she is not a target in the investigation.
The debate exchange started when Ramos said that, by directing her staff to use official government email while she used a private server as secretary of state, Clinton seemed to be issuing “one set of rules for” herself and “a different set of rules for the rest of the State Department.”
In addition to asking whether she would drop out if she got indicted, Ramos asked who gave Clinton permission to use a private server for her emails while she served as secretary of state.
“It wasn’t the best choice, I made a mistake,” Clinton said. “It was not prohibited. It was not in any way disallowed and, as I’ve said and as now has come out, my predecessors did the same thing and many other people in the government.”
The email scandal has dogged Clinton for nearly a year. Last March, she first admitted to exclusively using a private email account to send and receive work-related emails while at the State Department.
In her answer to Ramos, Clinton said she didn’t “send or receive any emails” that were marked classified at the time that she sent them:
What you’re talking about is retroactive classification and the reason that happens is when somebody asks … to make information public, I asked all my email to be made public, then all the rest of the government gets to weigh in. And some other parts of the government, we’re not exactly sure who, has concluded that some of the emails should now retroactively be classified.”
Clinton emphasised that she’s “not concerned” about the email issue and said voters shouldn’t be concerned, either.
The controversy has compelled Clinton to hand over roughly 30,000 work-related emails to the government, which have been released in batches since last year. She deleted about 31,000 other emails she claims were personal in nature.
Clinton is currently the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Natasha Bertrand contributed to this report.
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