A U.S. State Department inspector general's report says Hillary Clinton, the likely 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, failed to follow guidelines when she used a private email server to conduct work while serving as secretary of state.
Senior State Department officials said there was no evidence Clinton sought approval to use her personal email account to conduct official business when she was the country's top diplomat from 2009 to 2013, and that if she had asked, she would have been told no. Officials are supposed to use government email accounts both because of national security concerns and federal record-keeping requirements.
The report examined the email practices of current Secretary of State John Kerry and several who preceded Clinton, including Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Madeleine Albright. It cited long-standing problems within the department but made special note of Clinton's use of a private system.
"Our record keeping, we could have done a better job at preserving emails and records of secretaries of state and their senior staff going back, frankly, several administrations," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. "We recognize that."
Toner noted that Kerry uses his government email account and that all of his messages are automatically saved.
Clinton, who has been dogged by the email controversy throughout her campaign for president, said in March that "it would've been better if I'd simply used a second email account and carried a second phone, but at the time, this didn't seem like an issue."
Criticism from Trump
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee who will most likely face Clinton in the November election, sharply criticized her again Thursday about her use of the private email server installed in her New York home.
"She has bad judgment," Trump told reporters at a campaign stop in North Dakota. "I just read the report. It's devastating. It's shocking to see."
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Clinton broke federal rules and endangered national security.
"The stakes are too high to entrust the White House to someone with as much poor judgment and reckless disregard for the law as Hillary Clinton," he said on Twitter.
Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon defended her email use, saying there was no precedent for a secretary of state to have a department account until Kerry took over.
"Contrary to the false theories advanced for some time now, the report notes that her use of personal email was known to officials within the department during her tenure, and that there is no evidence of any successful breach of the secretary's server," he said in a statement.