Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
 / Updated 
By Kristen Welker

Hillary Clinton said Friday that a New York Times report of a potential criminal probe related to a private email account she used as Secretary of State contains "a lot of inaccuracies."

The newspaper has issued a correction to a piece published late Thursday night alleging that Clinton's email practices were the subject of a criminal investigation proposed by two inspectors general.

"Maybe the heat is getting to everybody," Clinton said before remarks on the economy in New York City. "We all have a responsibility to get this right."

"We are all accountable to the American people to get the facts right and I will do my part, but I’m also going to stay focused on the issues, particularly the big issues that really matter to American families," she added.

The comments come after the New York Times initially reported that the Justice Department received a "criminal referral" to open an investigation into whether Clinton mishandled government information with her personal account.

The request was made by inspectors general for the State Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the newspaper reported.

In its correction, the New York Times wrote that its initial report, "using information from senior government officials, misstated the nature of the referral to the Justice Department regarding Hillary Clinton’s personal email account while she was secretary of state. The referral addressed the potential compromise of classified information in connection with that personal email account. It did not specifically request an investigation into Mrs. Clinton."

The Justice Department initially confirmed the report of a "criminal referral" to NBC News and other outlets. But a Justice Department official said Friday afternoon that "The Department has received a referral related to the potential compromise of classified information. It is not a CRIMINAL referral."

Also on Friday, Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks, said that the State Department's inspector general told him that he did not ask the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation into Clinton's email.

"Instead, he told me the Intelligence Community IG notified the Justice Department and Congress that they identified classified information in a few emails that were part of the FOIA review, and that none of those emails had been previously marked as classified," he said.

In a joint statement, the two inspectors general who made the referral said that it was "a security referral made for counterintelligence purposes." But, they added, they found that a sample of 40 of Clinton's emails from Clinton's server contained four with classified information that should "never have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system."

Clinton said in March that "I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material."

Hillary Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill blasted the New York Times in a statement.

"It is now more clear than ever that the New York Times report claiming there is a criminal inquiry sought in Hillary Clinton’s use of email is false," he said. "It has now been discredited both by the Justice Department and the Ranking Member of the House Oversight Committee. This incident shows the danger of relying on reckless, inaccurate leaks from partisan sources."

Editors note: This story and its headline have been updated to reflect new information. The Department of Justice initially indicated that the referral from the inspectors general was criminal in nature. A Justice Department official now says that it was not a criminal referral.

NBC's Michael Kosnar and Carrie Dann contributed to this report.

Alex Moe contributed.