Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Hillary Clinton’s campaign is “trying to pin” her use of a personal email account on him.
Clinton had reportedly told the FBI that Powell advised her to use a personal account, according to the New York Times. The newspaper said the information came from notes the FBI delivered to Congress on Tuesday, which contained details from a more than three-hour interview with Clinton over her private email use.
The Times also cited an upcoming book that described a dinner conversation in the early months of Clinton’s tenure where Powell told Clinton to use her own email except for classified information. It also reported that Clinton asked Powell in a 2009 email exchange about his use of email after she had decided to use her personal account.
Powell’s office released a statement saying he did not recall the conversation at the dinner party, but he did write to Clinton about his personal email account.
“He did write former Secretary Clinton an email memo describing his use of his personal AOL email account for unclassified messages and how it vastly improved communications within the State Department,” the statement said.
Powell then told The New York Post’s Page Six that Clinton was already using a personal account before he sent the memo.
“Her people have been trying to pin it on me,” he said, but he added that it doesn’t bother him. “It’s okay, I’m free,” he said.
While Powell did use a personal email account while he served as secretary of state, his office said he used a secure department computer to manage classified information. He also did not have a private server like Clinton did in her home in Chappaqua, New York.
The investigations into Clinton’s use of a personal email account and private server has been a topic of controversy throughout the presidential campaign. While FBI Director James Comey did not recommend any criminal charges, he rebuked her for “extremely careless” handling of classified information.