Hillary Clinton’s campaign team and her allies came out swinging Friday against the New York Times as the newspaper backed off its report that the U.S. Justice Department had been asked to open a criminal probe into her private email account.
DOJ said Friday that it did receive a referral regarding the potential compromise of classified information in connection with that email account, but the request was not for a criminal probe.
Nick Merrill, a Clinton campaign spokesman, said the Times story was “false” and accused the newspaper of relying on “partisan” sources for its information:
Just in: Clinton camp’s @NickMerrill going after NYT in fresh statement: pic.twitter.com/F5uPXCvQp6
— Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) July 24, 2015
Former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean also went to bat for Clinton on Twitter:
The New York Times truly has become an embarrassment to American Journalism. Second anti HRC story in three months THEY GOT WRONG!
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) July 24, 2015
The top Democrat on the select House committee investigating Benghazi, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), also shot down rumors about a potential criminal investigation.
“I spoke personally to the State Department inspector general on Thursday, and he said he never asked the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation of Secretary Clinton’s email usage,” Cummings said in a statement, as quoted by The Hill.
Clinton herself addressed the latest flare-up over her private email use at the top of the second economic speech of her presidential campaign Friday afternoon in New York City.
“There have been a lot of inaccuracies, as Congressmen [Elijah] Cummings made clear this morning. Maybe the heat is getting to everybody,” she said. “We all have a responsibility to get this right. I have released 55,000 pages of e-mails. I have said repeatedly that I will answer questions before the House committee. We are all accountable to the American people to get the facts right. And I will do my part.”
Clinton added that her focus would not be on her controversial use of a private email account during her State Department tenure but instead on the “big issues that really matter to American families” today.