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Obama Says He Won't Intervene in Clinton Email Probe


President Barack Obama speaks about the new rules aimed at deterring tax inversions, April 5, 2016, in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington.
President Barack Obama speaks about the new rules aimed at deterring tax inversions, April 5, 2016, in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington.

U.S. President Barack Obama is guaranteeing he won't intervene in the government's investigation of how the leading Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, used a private server email account while she was his secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

Obama told Fox News Sunday in an interview taped last week that Clinton did not jeopardize national security through use of the private email server routed through her home in New York, rather than a government email system in Washington.

But he added that "there's a carelessness in terms of managing emails" that she has acknowledged.

For her part, Clinton has called her use of the private email system while she was the country's top diplomat a mistake, but said that she did not send or receive any documents marked as classified at the time, although dozens have subsequently been redesignated as secret or top secret material.

The top U.S. law enforcement agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has for months been investigating whether her use of the private email server compromised classified government documents, leaving a cloud over her campaign to become the country's first female president.

Her Republican presidential opponents have often attacked her as endangering national security with the use of the email system.

Some critics have suggested the Democratic president would intervene to protect the chances for his fellow Democrat to win the November election and replace him when he leaves office next January.

But Obama rebuffed that idea.

"I guarantee that there is no political influence in any investigation conducted by the Justice Department, or the FBI, not just in this case, but in any case," Obama said.

Clinton has a substantial lead over her lone opponent, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, in the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination. But Sanders has won eight of the last nine nominating contests, cutting into her lead in the race to claim a majority of delegates to July's national nominating convention.

Obama touched on several other issues during the interview, including the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court and how he deals with the threat of terrorism.

  • On Garland's nomination, Obama said he will stick with him through the end of his term. "What I think we can't have, is a situation in which the Republican Senate simply says, 'Because it's a Democratic president, we are not going to do our job, have hearings, and have a vote,' " he said.
  • On terrorism, Obama said he doesn't think Americans have made too much of the threat of terrorist attack. He also said he hasn't let acts of terror disrupt some of his regular activities because it's important to communicate a message of resilience and "that we don't panic, that we don't fear."
  • On what he most looks forward to when leaving office: "Being able to take a walk outside."
  • On his best and worst day in office. Obama said the best was the day health insurance reform passed and the worst was the day he traveled to Newtown, Connecticut, after the massacre at Sandy Hook.

Some material for this report came from AP.

WATCH: President Obama's weekly address