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Hillary Clinton to address email controversy

Hillary Clinton will address questions over her exclusive use of a private email account within the next two days, sources tell msnbc.
Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a keynote address at the Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women on Feb. 24, 2015, in Santa Clara, Calif. (Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)
Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a keynote address at the Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women on Feb. 24, 2015, in Santa Clara, Calif.

Hillary Clinton plans to address questions over her use of a private email account while secretary of state in the coming days and possibly as soon as the next 48 hours, msnbc has learned.

Clinton avoided the topic during a public appearance in New York City Monday morning and another this weekend in Miami. On Tuesday, she is scheduled to address a United Nations women’s event and currently has no more event scheduled for the rest of the week.

The all-but-certain contender for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination has been under increasing pressure to address the controversy, which was sparked a week ago, especially after senior Democrats this weekend urged her to speak out on the matter. She may hold a press conference, according to Politico, or speak to a reporter in a one-on-one interview.

A knowledgeable source told msnbc Clinton plans to say she used a single private email address only for simplicity and functionality, that she did not intend to hide anything, that she turned over everything to the State Department that could even be remotely considered official business, and that she preserved all the emails. “She did this out of convenience,” the source told msnbc.

If Clinton had used two email addresses at the State Department -- one official and one personal -- it would have raised questions Republicans would be sure to exploit, the source added.

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The former secretary of state returned her Twitter avatar to a picture of her using a BlackBerry, perhaps emailing, after she removed it as a part of a campaign to raise awareness for International Women's Day. The picture, which had become part of the popular meme "Texts from Hillary,"  took on new meaning in light of the email controversy. But she did not use the opportunity provided by Sunday's campaign to change it. 

Longtime Clinton adviser James Carville struggled to defend Clinton’s use of the private email server Monday in an interview on msnbc. “I'm sure at some point she'll say something about it.  The next day, there will be something else, and the next day there will be something else.  It will never change.  I understand that,” he told Andrea Mitchell, who had to interject and correct Carville several times. “I'm not going to -- I don't see the deal here,” Carville continued. “And I'm not playing along with the game.”

But it’s become more difficult for Clinton’s defenders to claim the issue is just a Republican-created fiction, especially after California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Sunday called on the former first lady to explain herself. “What I would like is for her to come forward and say just what the situation is. She is the preeminent political figure right now -- she is the leading candidate whether it be Republican or Democrat to be the next president -- and I think that she needs to step up and come out and state exactly what the situation is,” Feinstein said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “The silence is going to hurt her.”

Feinstein until recently chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee and in 2013 endorsed Clinton’s not-yet-existent second presidential run. Her comments shook Clinton’s inner orbit, sources close to the situation say, and influenced their decision to address the issue more quickly.

White House Press Secretary Josh Ernest told reporters Monday that President Obama had exchanged emails with Clinton, but had been unaware of the details of her private email account until he read about it news reports last week.

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Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, another Democratic Clinton ally, said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that she expected to hear from Clinton soon. “I think that you’re going to hear something from Secretary Clinton this week, I’m fairly certain it’s going to be soon,” Klobuchar said Monday. “I think people need to look at those facts and hear from her and I’m sure she’s going to be saying more.”

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Monday that the 55,000 pages Clinton had turned over from her private email account came on paper printouts, instead of electronic files. “That is quite a few boxes,"  Psaki told reporters. "Which speaks to...these do cover the span of her time at the State Department."

Also Monday, Clinton unveiled the No Ceilings Initiative, a report she has been working on for more than a year on the role of women around the world. Reporters peppered her with questions about her email account as she left the event, but she only smiled and waved before climbing in a black van and driving away.