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Schumer defends Hillary Clinton's use of private email address during tenure as secretary of state

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her BlackBerry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya on Oct. 18, 2011. Credit: AP

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer defended former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation" as Republicans accused her of withholding emails related to the deadly 2012 Benghazi attacks.

"The bottom line is she's a national figure, a potential presidential candidate -- people are going to shoot at her," Schumer (D-N.Y.) told moderator Bob Schieffer.

Clinton, a former senator from New York, used her personal email address from her private server as secretary of state. Some critics have asked whether she deleted relevant messages or failed to provide some to the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

"There have been several investigations by the committees and others," Schumer said. "They have come up with zeros and they just keep adding. I think at the end of the day this will be regarded as a slight hiccup."

Clinton, who served as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013, has released 55,000 pages of emails at this point, but Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the chairman of the House Benghazi Committee, said there have been monthslong gaps in the messages she has provided.

Gowdy, who also appeared on "Face the Nation" Sunday, said those gaps include a period when she was in Libya. In a now famous photograph taken in October 2011, Clinton is shown, in sunglasses, using her phone while on a military plane bound for Libya. Gowdy cited that photo, arguing the omission of emails from that time does not make sense.

Four Americans died in attacks on a diplomatic mission and a CIA compound in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. There were seven Americans at the mission, including five armed diplomatic security officers; information officer, Sean Smith; and Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Both Smith and Stevens were killed.

Gowdy stressed he does not want to see all of her personal emails, just any dealing with Benghazi. He said the committee does not intend to release or publish Clinton's emails in piecemeal fashion until the investigation is complete.

Clinton's choice to use her own server has raised questions about security, as well as whether it has allowed her to delete or withhold messages that she is legally required to provide.

Schumer said the average American is not as concerned about the Benghazi investigation as they are about economics affecting the middle class.

"This is politics . . . but I don't think the public is going to pay much attention to this," he said. "They care much more about . . . who is going to get their wages going up again, who is going to create good paying jobs."

With AP


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