WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she used a private domain for her official work during her time at the State Department out of “convenience,” but admitted in retrospect “it would have been better” to use multiple emails.
“I opted for convenience to use personal email account, which was allowed, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device,” she said during a press conference after her speech at the United Nations Tuesday. “Looking back, it would’ve been better if I had simply used a second email.”
Clinton turned over 55,000 pages of correspondence to the State Department to evaluate, which department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday would be released on a public website after a review, which could take months.
The former secretary of state defended her process in choosing emails, telling reporters that she and her staff “err[ed] on the side of providing anything that could be possibly viewed as work-related.”
Clinton said she didn’t send any classified information with her email, but asserted that there were no security breaches on the server anyway, which she said had been set up for President Bill Clinton’s use, was housed on private property and guarded by Secret Service agents.
“I trust the American people to make their decisions about political and public matters and I feel like I’ve taken unprecedented steps for these emails to be in the public domain,” she said. “I went above and beyond what I was requested to do.”
Just months out from the expected launch of her likely presidential campaign, the former secretary of state planned to spend her Tuesday speech at the United Nations’ Women’s Empowerment Principles event talking about her “No Ceilings” report on the conditions for women and girls globally, and her own record as an advocate for women’s rights.
But with the controversy surrounding her use of a personal email server and domain during her time at State continuing into its second week, Clinton will follow the speech at the U.N. with a hastily arranged a press conference where aides say she’ll respond to questions.
It’s her first large engagement with reporters in five months, since she gaggled with the press during a political event in Iowa last September.
Media attention around Tuesday’s event was more heightened than usual, but the focus appeared to be on emails.
Outside the event, reporters lined up to shout questions at both Hillary and Bill Clinton in vain. Neither responded to repeated questions about the email controversy.
Clinton aides were confident, however, that since the speech and the press conference were taking place at the tightly-controlled United Nations they wouldn’t devolve into a media circus.
The State Department did offer details on how the emails would be released prior to Clinton’s press conference. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said after the review of the 55,000 pages of documents Clinton turned over to State — which would take months — they would be posted on a publicly accessible website. The 300 emails pertaining to the request made by the congressional committee investigating the attacks in Benghazi, amounting to about 900 pages, will be released first.
Psaki said the review wouldn’t cost taxpayers anymore than a review of emails sent entirely through an official State Department email would, as both are done with hard-copy printouts.
While Clinton allies are breathing a sigh of relief that she’s finally decided to break the silence, the past three weeks of controversies, which began with scrutiny of her family foundation’s donors last month, has taken its toll.
Though few Democrats other than Clinton are readying a potential campaign, Democratic critics already wary of her expected presidential candidacy found further evidence Clinton needs to face a credible primary challenge to prepare for the general election.
The controversy has even strained relations with the Obama administration, which has been forced to answer for her use of a private email server as she’s remained silent on the issue.
With a more formal campaign launch expected as soon as next month, Clinton’s Tuesday has been transformed from a victory lap to a high-stakes dance with the press.
By Alexandra Jaffe and Dan Merica
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