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Hillary Clinton Seemingly Caught Off Guard by Question on Report That Calls Key Email Claim Into Question

"What I have said is it was allowed."

Hillary Clinton offered a blunt response when asked to explain a new report that puts one of her email claims at odds with the State Department.

Clinton has previously said that she provided her emails to the State Department as part of a routine records-keeping process, but State Department officials reportedly told the Washington Post that their inquiry was sparked by the revelation that Clinton exclusively used a private email system. State Department spokesman John Kirby also said the agency realized it had "relatively few" of Clinton's emails while trying to respond to congressional investigators seeking emails related to Benghazi.

The Democratic presidential frontrunner was asked about the new report by the Des Moines Register while out campaigning on Tuesday, but couldn't give an answer.

See the exchange:

“I don’t know that. I can’t answer that,” Clinton told the Des Moines Register. “All I know is that they sent the same letter to everybody. That’s my understanding.”

"All I know is what I have said. What I have said is it was allowed. The State Department has confirmed that. The same letter went to, as far as I know, my predecessors, and I’m the one who said, ‘Hey, I’ll be glad to help,'" she added.

But again, that claim doesn't appear to square with the State Department's position, according to a report from the Washington Post:

But State Department officials provided new information Tuesday that undercuts Clinton’s characterization. They said the request was not simply about general rec­ord-keeping but was prompted entirely by the discovery that Clinton had exclusively used a private e-mail system. They also said they first contacted her in the summer of 2014, at least three months before the agency asked Clinton and three of her predecessors to provide their e-mails.

“In the process of responding to congressional document requests pertaining to Benghazi, State Department officials recognized that it had access to relatively few email records from former Secretary Clinton,” Kirby told the Washington Post. “State Department officials contacted her representatives during the summer of 2014 to learn more about her email use and the status of emails in that account.”

It was while the State Department was trying to gain access to Clinton's emails, Kirby said, that it was determined officials didn't have extensive email records from previous secretaries of state.

Kirby said it "therefore included them when we requested their records in October 2014.”

(H/T: Mediaite)

Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter

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