Intelligence agency investigators may have discovered classified information in dozens of emails that passed through Hillary Clinton’s private server during her tenure as secretary of the state, but President Barack Obama does not think that any of the leaked emails posed a “national security problem.”
Addressing the email controversy in a wide-ranging interview with CBS's 60 Minutes, the U.S. president called the entire thing “a mistake” that had been “ginned up” into a political attack by Republicans eager to keep Clinton from being president.
“I can tell you that this is not a situation in which America's national security was endangered,” Obama told 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft. “We don't get an impression that here there was purposely efforts to hide something or to squirrel away information.”
Moreover, when it was pointed out that his administration has prosecuted people for having confidential material on their private computers, he asserted that Clinton's situation was different because he did not get the impression that she was intending to “hide something.”
“I think she’d be the first to acknowledge that maybe she could have handled the original decision better and the disclosures more quickly,” Obama explained, adding that it is important for Clinton to answer questions about the controversy “to the satisfaction of the American public.”
Although former secretary of state defended using private email for government correspondence as a matter of convenience and even apologized for the controversy, the issue has become a major distraction for her Clinton’s presidential campaign and a flashpoint with the Republicans.
Though unlikely, but Obama’s advocacy might ease some pressure off the 2016 presidential candidate.
“He is a great publicity-seeker – and at a time when the Republican party hasn’t really figured out what it’s for as opposed to what it’s against,” Obama added. “I don’t think he’ll end up being president of the United States.”
Watch President Barack Obama’s interview in the video above.