Bill Clinton declines to weigh in on Hillary email debacle

Posted at 6:58 PM, Mar 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-08 18:58:42-04

Washington (CNN) – Former President Bill Clinton is staying out of the controversy over Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email address on a private server.

Asked by CNN’s Dan Merica on Sunday in Miami whether his wife has been treated fairly, Clinton said: “I’m not the one to judge that. I have an opinion but I have a bias.”

“I shouldn’t be making news on this,” he said.

Clinton’s comments come as other Democrats call on Clinton to answer questions about why she took the unusual approach to email, which had the effect of giving her extraordinary control over what later became public record and what remained private.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said that Clinton’s status as the “pre-eminent political figure” in American politics requires her to explain herself.

“She needs to step up and come out and say what the situation is,” Feinstein said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “From this point on, the silence is going to hurt her.”

President Barack Obama weighed in, too, saying he’s “glad” that Clinton has asked the State Department to release the 55,000 pages of emails she submitted — after selecting the ones related to her official business.

“The policy of my administration is to encourage transparency, which is why my emails, the BlackBerry I carry around, all those records are available and archived,” Obama said in an interview with CBS News. “I’m glad that Hillary’s instructed that those emails about official business need to be disclosed.”

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was largely responsible for the overhaul of the State Department to modern computer technology, took a pass at criticizing Clinton’s private email use.

“I had my own email account and the reason I did it was because we were fundamentally changing the information system at the State Department. We needed to open it up and bring it into the 21st century,” he told CNN on Sunday.

He declined to comment on Clinton’s use of private emails.

“That is for Mrs. Clinton to talk about,” he said.

Also on Sunday, the former U.S. ambassador to Kenya who claims he lost his job in part for using Gmail says there “may have” been an unfair double-standard now that Clinton’s use of a personal email address on a private server has been revealed.

“As I’ve reflected on it in the last couple of days, it does appear like there was a different standard that was used in my case and that has been used in hers,” Scott Gration, the former Air Force general and ambassador, told CNN’s Michael Smerconish on “State of the Union.”

Gration said he accessed Gmail because it allowed him to get breaking news alerts and news of possible terrorist activities “faster than it came through the official channels.”

“So for me, it was very important to have access to the different services that I had subscribed to in the embassy,” Gration said.

Gration, who flew 274 combat missions over Iraq as a fighter pilot and served as Obama’s special envoy to Sudan, left his job as U.S. ambassador to Kenya in 2012 after an inspector general’s report hammered his management style and his use of a personal email address.

Clinton’s use of a personal email address on a private server was first publicly revealed last week, and has led to accusations that she’s tried to keep some emails from becoming public records.

“To find out that in reality, other people in the department, to include my supervisors, were doing things differently and were looking the other way, I think that’s hard,” Gration said.

CNN’s Dan Merica and Elizabeth Landers contributed to this report.