Colin Powell said he does not recall advising Hillary Clinton to user a private email account
Hillary Clinton told federal officials that it was former Secretary of State Colin Powell who told her to use the personal email account that has plagued the presidential hopeful for more than a year, reports say.
During the three-and-a-half-hour interview with FBI officials that led to bureau director James Comey’s decision not to pursue criminal charges, Clinton, 68, said Powell advised her to use the account and she even inquired about his email practices during his time as Secretary of State, the New York Times reports.
The alleged conversation was first reported by journalist Joe Conason in his upcoming book Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton, according to the Times.
In the book – the Times received an advanced copy – Conason detailed a small dinner party Clinton attended with Powell, 79, Madeleine Albright, Henry Kissinger and Condoleezza Rice in the early month’s of her tenure as the nation’s top diplomat.
“Toward the end of the evening, over dessert, Albright asked all of the former secretaries to offer one salient bit of counsel to the nation’s next top diplomat,” Conason wrote. “Powell told her to user her own email, as he had done, except for classified communications, which he had sent and received via a State Department computer.”
Conason continued: “Saying that his use of personal email had been transformative for the department … [Powell] confirmed a decision she had made months earlier – to keep her personal account and use it for most messages.”
In a Friday morning statement, Powell’s office said he “has no recollection of the dinner conversation,” according to NBC News.
“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 read.
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Sources told NBC that Powell never used his private email for classified communication and never told the Democratic nominee that she should.
Instead, the source said, Powell received classified information from a desktop computer in his government office.
The email scandal has reared its ugly head several times since Clinton announced her bid for the White House and, in polls, has proved damaging to her campaign and her reputation for trustworthiness.
A poll taken last November found that seven in 10 Americans think Clinton acted either illegally or unethically by using the private server, The Hill reported.