A spokesman for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Tuesday she is turning over the private email server she used to send and receive messages during her tenure as U.S. Secretary of State to the Justice Department.
Clinton has been pressured by Republican lawmakers to relinquish the server ever since it was revealed back in March that she used her personal email account to send official messages. Critics have accused her of trying to hide controversial communications in her private account, including those surrounding the deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya in 2012.
Clinton says she has turned over 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department, and has authorized the agency to make them public.
The FBI has launched an investigation into the security of Clinton's private email server after the inspector general of the U.S. intelligence community said he found at least four emails that were classified at the time they were sent, including two that were deemed to be "top secret," the government's highest classification level.
State Department spokesperson John Kirby said “Department employees circulated these emails on unclassified systems in 2009 and 2011 and ultimately some were forwarded to Secretary Clinton. They were not marked as classified." He added that "While we work with the Director of National Intelligence to resolve whether, in fact, this material is actually classified, we are taking steps to ensure the information is protected and stored appropriately.”
In addition to the email server, Clinton is also handing over a set of mini-hard drives containing copies of thousands of her emails.
Her campaign spokesman, Nick Merrill, said the former top U.S. diplomat has "pledged to cooperate with the government's security inquiry, and if there are more questions, we will continue to address them."
Republicans quickly seized on Clinton's decision to hand over the email server. "“It's about time," House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement. "Secretary Clinton's previous statements that she possessed no classified information were patently untrue. Her mishandling of classified information must be fully investigated."
Clinton signed a statement filed in a federal court on Monday declaring that she has turned over all relevant emails to the government. The statement comes with the penalty of perjury if the court determines she purposely falsified any information.