Hillary Clinton Calls Private Email Server a ‘Mistake,’ and Adds, ‘I’m Sorry About That’

September 8, 2015Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 5.03.38 PM

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 5.06.36 PMHillary Rodham Clinton apologized Tuesday for using a private email server while she was secretary of state, calling it a “mistake” – uttering words that many of her allies had wanted to hear from her in hopes that they would quell the controversy that has dogged her presidential candidacy for weeks.

Mrs. Clinton made the comment in an interview with David Muir of ABC News that was set to air in full Tuesday evening. The network released a clip late Tuesday afternoon.

“That was a mistake. I’m sorry about that. I take responsibility,” Mrs. Clinton said in the interview.

Her remarks came just a day after she told The Associated Press that she did not need to apologize, saying, “What I did was allowed.” In an interview on NBC News on Friday, Mrs. Clinton said she was “sorry” that people were confused by the issue.

Several of Mrs. Clinton’s advisers had been urging her to acknowledge a mistake in stronger terms.

For weeks, Mrs. Clinton had insisted that the controversy was a news media fixation and not something that voters had raised with her on the campaign trail. But her poll numbers have suffered amid continuing reports about her private email server and whether it contained classified information.

The F.B.I. recently took possession of the server to ensure its security. And the internet technician who maintained it for Mrs. Clinton has invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

Mrs. Clinton has turned over 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department, which is reviewing them to comply with lawsuits related to Freedom of Information Act requests. After sorting through the remaining 31,000, which Mrs. Clinton deemed personal and not work-related, she deleted them.

Several of Mrs. Clinton’s allies have privately compared her resistance to using the word “mistake” to her similar reluctance to say she had erred in voting to support the invasion of Iraq in 2002 when she was a senator. That vote dogged her in the 2008 presidential primary, but Mrs. Clinton resisted calling it a mistake for months, despite entreaties from many liberals.