AP — WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says he believes his former secretary of state did not intentionally endanger national security in her handling of classified information. But he also says he’s not trying to influence his administration’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
The White House on Tuesday was under pressure to reconcile those two statements – asserting Obama’s public defense of Clinton was not an attempt to meddle in an ongoing probe and that federal investigators will not be swayed by the boss’ views.
“The president is committed to ensuring that individuals who are conducting criminal prosecutions do their work without influence from politicians or anybody that’s involved in politics,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
Earnest’s reassurances came amid growing criticism that Obama had put his finger on the scale with recent comments describing Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state as mere “carelessness.” In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Obama seemed to embrace the Clinton campaign’s suggestion that the root of the controversy is over-classification – that too much government information is classified by bureaucrats after the fact. And most notably, Obama weighed in with his views on Clinton’s intent.
“She would never intentionally put America in any kind of jeopardy,” he said of Clinton, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
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