President Barack Obama said Saturday that he found out about Hillary Clinton's use of a private, nongovernmental email account during her time as secretary of state at "the same time everybody else learned it, through news reports."
In an interview with CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante, Obama said he was happy that Clinton has asked the State Department to make the emails public. Obama lauded Clinton as an "outstanding public servant."
"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, and I'm glad that Hillary's instructed that those emails about official business need to be disclosed," Obama told Plante in an interview that aired Saturday.
The New York Times first reported Monday night that Clinton used a private email account for official government business, which has the potential to violate policies that all of her emails be preserved.
Republicans have sharply attacked Clinton over the emails, arguing that her use of a personal email account was an intentional move to obscure her communications.
The House Select Committee on Benghazi issued subpoenas for some of Clinton's personal emails on Wednesday, and later that night Clinton said in a tweet that she has asked the State Department to release her emails. "I want the public to see my email," she said.
"I think that the fact that she is putting them forward will allow us to make sure that people have the information they need," Obama said.
The president spoke with Plante while commemorating the 50th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday" in Selma, Alabama. Plante covered the pivotal civil rights march for CBS News in 1965.
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— Elisha Fieldstadt