Hillary Clinton emails: Obama, Colin Powell, Feinstein, others weigh in

Dylan Stableford
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton checks her PDA upon her departure in a military C-17 plane from Malta bound for Tripoli, Libya in this October 18, 2011, file photo. Clinton may have violated federal records laws by using a personal email account for all of her work messages, the New York Times reported on March 2, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/Files (LIBYA - Tags: POLITICS)

Lawmakers and pundits from both sides of the aisle weighed in Sunday on the controversy swirling around Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email account during her time as secretary of state.

On CBS' "Face the Nation," Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman for the House Select Committee on Benghazi, said there are "gaps of months and months" in the 55,000 pages of emails Clinton turned over to the committee.

Gowdy pointed to the famous photo of the then-secretary of state checking her BlackBerry on a military C-17 plane bound for Tripoli, Libya, on Oct. 18, 2011.

"We have no emails from that day," Gowdy said. "We have no emails from that trip."

The South Carolina Republican said Clinton has no choice but to turn over those messages.

"It's not up to Secretary Clinton to decide what is a public record and what is not," he said, adding: "I don't want everything. I just want everything related to Libya and Benghazi."

On "Meet the Press," Sen. Dianne Feinstein said that Clinton — a possible 2016 presidential candidate and would-be front-runner for the Democratic nomination — needs to come forward and explain the situation publicly.

"I think she needs to step up and come out and state exactly what the situation is," Feinstein said. "From this point on, the silence is going to hurt her."

On "Fox News Sunday," former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said the email controversy is "going to linger throughout" Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, should she decide to run.

"There are people in the administration who are walking away from her on this," Huckabee said, "leaving [Clinton] twisting in the wind."

President Barack Obama said he learned of Clinton's use of a private email account as his secretary of state at "the same time everyone else did — through news reports," but refused to criticize her.

"Let me just say, Hillary Clinton is and has been an outstanding public servant, she was a great secretary of state for me," Obama said in an interview with CBS News following his speech in Selma, Ala., on Saturday. "The policy of my administration is to encourage transparency. That's why my emails — the BlackBerry I carry around — all those records are available and archived, and I'm glad that Hillary has instructed that those emails that had to do with official business be disclosed."

On Wednesday, Clinton tweeted that she wanted the public to see her correspondence.



Last week, Clinton's camp defended her use of a personal email account.

“Like secretaries of state before her, she used her own email account when engaging with any department officials,” Nick Merrell, Clinton’s spokesman, said in a statement. “For government business, she emailed them on their department accounts, with every expectation they would be retained. When the department asked former secretaries last year for help ensuring their emails were in fact retained, we immediately said yes.”

On "Face the Nation," New York Sen. Chuck Schumer dismissed the controversy, calling it "a slight hiccup" and "a small bump in the road."

"She complied with the law," Schumer said. "She's turning over more documents than any secretary of state before her."

On ABC's "This Week," former Secretary of State Colin Powell declined to comment on the Clinton controversy, saying his emails as secretary were never disclosed because he did not save them.

"I don't have any to turn over," Powell said. "I did not keep a cache of them. I did not print them off. I do not have thousands of pages somewhere in my personal files. And, in fact, a lot of the emails that came out of my personal account went into the State Department system. They were addressed to State Department employees and the state.gov domain. But I don't know if the servers at the State Department captured those or not.

"They were all unclassified and most of them, I think, are pretty benign," Powell added. "So I'm not terribly concerned even if they were able to recover them."

Schumer said he understands why Clinton's email are being targeted.

"People keep going, 'Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi,' ... [but] they have come up with zero," Schumer said, adding: "She's a national figure, potential presidential candidate, people are going to shoot at her."