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Hillary Clinton: "I'm sorry" people are confused about my emails

In a recent interview Hillary Clinton avoided apologizing her use of a private email server
Hillary Clinton addresses email controversy 07:17

Hillary Clinton conceded Wednesday that her decision to use a private email server as secretary of state "wasn't the best choice," expressing regret about her role in creating an issue that has been a major distraction from her presidential campaign.

"It was allowed, and it was fully above board...but it would have been better if I had two separate accounts to begin with," she told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell in an interview. "I am sorry that this has been confusing to people and has raised a lot of questions, but there are answers to all these questions."

Hillary Clinton remains surrounded by email controversy 02:23

Clinton repeated, as she has before, that most of the emails she sent to other government employees were automatically archived by the system. She also said turned over any emails on her private server that could possibly have been work-related to the State Department, which is reviewing and releasing those emails in batches.

"They were overly inclusive," Clinton said of her attorneys' approach to reviewing the emails. "The State Department has already told us that they're going to return over 1,200 emails because they were overly personal."

Asked why she wiped the non-work related emails from her server, Clinton said her attorneys asked her whether she needed to keep her personal emails, she said no, and they simply deleted them.

Republicans have cried foul about Clinton's use of a private server, raising the possibility that Clinton may have deleted some work-related emails. They've also questioned whether Clinton or her aides may have transmitted any classified material through the email server, without the cyber security protection of a government email system.

The Department of Justice is currently reviewing the security of Clinton's private server and assessing whether any classified material passed through it.

Clinton reassured Mitchell Friday that she takes the handling of classified material "very, very seriously, and she repeated her claim that she never or received any material that was marked classified at the time.

Clinton was also asked whether she's bothered by recent poll numbers that show a majority of voters doubt her trustworthiness.

She replied, "It certainly doesn't make me feel good, but I am very confident that by the time this campaign has run its course, people will know that what I've been saying is accurate." She also said voters are more concerned about whether they trust someone to fight for their interests as president, and the Democratic candidate suggested she'd have more success on that question.

When Mitchell took a step back and asked Clinton why nobody in her circle raised concerns when the decision to use a private server was made in the first place, Clinton said she simply had too many other issues on her plate as she prepared to assume leadership of the State Department. "I didn't really stop and think what kind of email system will there be," she said.

The Democratic candidate also weighed in on several other political topics, including Vice President Biden's plans for 2016, the nuclear deal with Iran, and Donald Trump.

On Biden, who's been consulting his advisers about a presidential bid and is expected to make a decision sometime this month, Clinton declined an opportunity to preemptively litigate their differences as primary competitors.

"I think everybody should give him the space and respect he deserves to make what is a very difficult choice for him and his family," she said.

On the nuclear deal with Iran - an agreement she helped usher into existence - Clinton suggested the American people "are going to want a president who supports diplomacy," even with U.S. adversaries. She said her speech next week will lay out both why she supports the deal and what she'll do as president to enforce it.

Trump unhappy with "gotcha questions" on Middle East 02:14

And on Donald Trump, Clinton condemned the GOP frontrunner's negative style of campaigning.

"He's attacked so many people," including me, Clinton noted. "I can take that, that's just par for the course. I do regret that he is going after so many people, many of them by name, from great basketball players to people who express different opinions from him. I think it's an unfortunate development in American politics that his campaign is all about who he's against, whether it's immigrants, or women broadcasters, or aides of other candidates."

When Clinton was asked why some people see her as calculating or "lawyerly" at times, Clinton offered a defense of her own circumspect approach to being a public official - but the subtext was a clear dig at Trump, whose bombast has dominated the GOP primary for months now.

"People say I'm careful about what I say," Clinton noted. "That's because for more than 20 years, I've seen the importance of the president of the United States...having to send messages that will be received by all kinds of people. Loose talk, threats, insults, they have consequences, so I'm going to conduct myself as I believe is appropriate for someone seeking the highest office in our country."

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