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Clinton Takes Questions, Urges State Dept. to Release Emails 'As Soon As They Can'

After weeks of declining to speak to the press, Hillary Clinton answered journalists’ questions Tuesday

After weeks of declining to speak to the press, Hillary Clinton answered journalists’ questions Tuesday after a campaign event in Iowa, insisting that she wants emails from her tenure at the State Department to be released as soon as possible.

Asked by NBC's Kristen Welker about news that the State Department will need until January of next year to publicly release tens of thousands of her emails from her time as Secretary of State, she said “I want them out as soon as they can get out.”

“Nobody has a bigger interest in getting them released than I do,” Clinton added. “I respect the State Department. They have their process that they do for everybody, not just for me, but anything that they might do to expedite that process I heartily support.”

Clinton said that she can’t demand a quicker process because the emails belong to the agency and not to her. But, she added that she’s asking officials to “please move as quickly as they can to get them out.”

Clinton was also asked to weigh in on the back-and-forth over whether the Iraq War was a mistake – a question that has tripped up GOP candidates including Jeb Bush.

“I have made it very clear that I made a mistake, plain and simple,” she said of her vote to authorize the war while serving in the United States Senate.

The Democratic presidential candidate also responded to a New York Times report on her relationship with longtime confidante Sidney Blumenthal, who sent memos related to Libya to her while she was Secretary of State and while he was involved in a possible business venture in the country.

"He's been a friend of mine for a long time and he sent me unsolicited emails which I passed on in some instances," she said. "That's just part of the give and take. When you're in the public eye, when you're in an official position, I think you do have to work to make sure that you're not caught in the bubble and you only hear from a small group of people. I'm going to keep talking to my old friends, whoever they are."

She also weighed in on questions about whether donations to the Clinton Foundation represented a conflict of interest during her tenure at the United States Senate, saying that she’s proud of the “live-saving and life-changing work” done by the organization.

Asked there was a conflict of interest in her giving of paid speeches in the run-up to her presidential announcement, Clinton offered a flat "No."

- Carrie Dann