Hillary Clinton told FBI investigators that former Secretary of State Colin Powell advised her to use a personal email account, according to a new report.
The claim was included in notes given to Congress by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday, The New York Times reports. Powell confirmed he did write Clinton an email talking about how his use of a personal email account “vastly improved communications within the State Department.”
Clinton’s use of a private server to handle email has come under fierce scrutiny for potentially mishandling classified information. In July, after a lengthy investigation, FBI director James Comey said they found more than 100 emails that contained classified information at the time they were sent or received. While Comey declined to recommend criminal charges against Clinton, he said the FBI found her and her colleagues to be “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”
A book by left-leaning author Joe Conason on Bill Clinton’s post-presidency includes a claim that Powell had given similar advice to Clinton at a dinner party early in her tenure, hosted by another former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.
“Albright asked all of the former secretaries to offer one salient bit of counsel to the nation’s next top diplomat,” Conason writes according to the Times, which obtained an advanced copy of the book. “Powell told her to use her own email, as he had done, except for classified communications, which he had sent and received via a State Department computer.”
Powell, who served as Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005, released a statement Thursday saying he did not recall this conversation.