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Colin Powell clarifies his role in Clinton e-mail server


The furor over the use of a personal e-mail server by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton continues to spin uncontrollably thanks to a revelation by the former secretary of state that after she took over as the nation’s top diplomat, former secretary of state Gen. Colin Powell, once sent Clinton a memo “touting his use of a personal e-mail account for work-related messages.”

Adding to the hornet’s nest, Clinton said that in addition to the memo, during a dinner with other former secretaries of state, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under ex-president George H.W. Bush, advised Clinton to use a personal e-mail account in the office. However, Powell countered in a statement that he “has no recollection” of that purported dinner conversation.

Additionally, Powell suggested last weekend that Clinton was using private e-mail long before he communicated with her about the subject.

“The truth is, she was using (the private e-mail server) for a year before I sent her a memo telling her what I did,” Powell said.

Furthermore, according to a Washington Post article, expectations (regarding e-mails) were different during Powell’s tenure. Clinton got very clear guidance about use of private e-mail as secretary of state, according to the story. The State Department’s inspector general addressed this point in a May report on Clinton’s e-mail practices, according to The Post’s Carol Morello and Jia Lynn Yang.

By the time Clinton became secretary of state, the guidance on e-mail use was much more detailed, suggesting that pointing to Powell is not an entirely fair comparison.

And according to FBI director James Comey, breaking the rules is not the same as breaking the law. The latter carries with it a higher standard; in this case, it was whether Clinton was “grossly negligent” in using her private server.