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Clinton Emails Put Campaign on Defensive After Tough Week

Talk grows of a Biden run, judge says Hillary Clinton violated policy 3:15

Hillary Clinton’s emails continued to plague her campaign this week, with new signs the controversy is taking a toll on her frontrunner status in the Democratic presidential primary.

The Clinton campaign has downplayed the significance of the ongoing email saga, saying it is a media fixation that is of little interest to voters. But new polls and continued rumors about Vice President Joe Biden potentially challenging Clinton continue to put the campaign on the defensive.

Here’s a look at the developments over the past five days:

MONDAY: NBC’s Pete Williams reports that intelligence community reviewers examining Clinton’s emails identified 305 documents that have been referred to their agencies for further consultation. Intelligence reviewers began looking at documents after concerns that a classified document was included in prior public releases of Clinton’s emails. It is unclear if any of the more than 300 documents actually contains classified material.

305 of Hillary Clinton's Personal Emails are Getting a Closer Look by Federal Intelligence Agencies 1:08

The Washington Times also reports that the number of emails identified by the State Department as containing classified information has hit 60. It was previously known that reviewers were looking at hundreds of emails upgraded to classified after they were sent, however.

TUESDAY: Clinton combatively defends her email practices while campaigning in North Las Vegas, Nevada. "Whether it was a personal account or a government account, I did not send classified material, and I did not receive any material that was marked or designated classified," she said. And when asked if she “wiped” her server before handing it over to investigators, she responded, "Like, with a cloth or something?"

NBC’s Richard Esposito and Pete Williams report two sources with direct knowledge of the process say the FBI's analysis of the server that once held the Clinton e-mails is now underway.

These sources say that while an effort was, in fact, made to wipe the hard drive, the FBI is optimistic it can recover at least some data.

Related: What’s the Legal Background to the Clinton E-mail Controversy?

In an interview with Telemundo, Clinton said there is “nothing to worry about” and maintained the controversy will “burn itself out.”

WEDNESDAY: Fox News reports they have identified two emails that kicked off the FBI investigation into whether Clinton’s messages were mishandled. The report pinpoints one message forwarded from Clinton adviser Huma Abedin to the then-secretary of state in 2011 that said Ambassador Chris Stevens was considering leaving Benghazi, Libya, because of deteriorating conditions. The second message was sent by Clinton aide Jake Sullivan that Fox News reports had sensitive information about arrests made in connection to the 2012 Benghazi attack that killed Stevens and three other Americans.

Are Clinton’s Private Email Woes Eroding Her Lead in the Polls? 2:46

The Clinton campaign held a call with reporters to refute the report, arguing the story vindicates that she broke no laws. Clinton aides argued that the 2011 note was not marked as classified and that the State Department disputes that the information should be classified. (In a video released Friday, Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon points out that you can still go to the State Department website and view the email because it remains unclassified.) Both messages show either a government dispute over what qualifies as classified or are examples of over-classification, the Clinton team said.

“It says more about the bent toward secrecy in [some quarters of] government than Hillary Clinton’s email practices,” Fallon said on the call.

Jen Palmieri, communications director for Clinton campaign, said on MSNBC, “We think that in August there is a lot of press interest in this and we want to do a lot of educating. We’re spending a lot of time talking to our supporters making sure they understand the really important facts here.”

THURSDAY: A federal judge orders the State Department to keep in close touch with the FBI about what has been uncovered during the investigation into Clinton’s email server, NBC’s Pete Williams reports. "We wouldn't be here today if the employee had followed government policy," District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan said, referring to Clinton. (The hearing was held for a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit involving a Clinton aide that was not directly related to the email controversy.)

New Quinnipiac University polls find only about one-third of Democratic voters in the key swing states of Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania say Clinton is honest and trustworthy.

Democratic Voters Concerned About Clinton Campaign 5:57

FRIDAY: A Reuters examination of the Clinton emails that have so far been made public found at least 30 email threads included so-called “foreign government information,” which the news organization reports should have been “presumed” classified. The report undermines Clinton’s claim that she never sent or received classified information from her private email account.

Some Democrats in Congress are also beginning to publicly question how the campaign has dealt with the continuing email controversy, the Associated Press reports. "I don't think the campaign has handled it very well," Florida Sen. Bill Nelson told the AP. The suggestion that she make a joke about joining Snapchat, a social media platform where messages automatically disappear, “was not good advice,” Nelson added.

The Clinton campaign releases a video refuting Wednesday’s Fox News reports, questions about her wiped server, and the classification of emails sent from Clinton’s private account.

“We fully expect that Republicans are going to want to continue to want to talk about Hillary Clinton’s emails,” Fallon says in the video. “And the reason for that is because they can’t talk about their plan to grow their economy on behalf of the middle class.”