WH Dodges on Whether Ignorance an Acceptable Excuse for Clinton’s Handling of Classified Info

September 29, 2016

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest avoided answering a question Thursday on whether ignorance is a viable excuse for Hillary Clinton sending classified material over her private email server.

Fox News correspondent James Rosen asked the question at the White House press briefing after Earnest earlier had admonished members of Congress for passing the JASTA bill, which allows family members of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia and other foreign countries allegedly involved in the terrorist attack.

Since voting to override President Obama’s veto, lawmakers have expressed regrets over some aspects of the bill.

Rosen juxtaposed Earnest’s scolding of lawmakers over their ignorance of the bill with Clinton’s excuse for sending classified emails over her private server.

"You mentioned in your discussion of JASTA earlier in the briefing that ignorance is not an excuse for lawmakers," Rosen said. "Does that same maxim, [that] ignorance is not an excuse, apply to Secretary Clinton professing to have been unaware of the classification markings on her private emails?"

Earnest did not answer the question, instead directing it to the Clinton campaign.

"Listen, I’ll let Secretary Clinton and her team talk about what she was thinking about and what she was aware of in the use of her email," he said.

Clinton has said that she was unaware of the classification of her emails when they were sent through her private server. PolitiFact has reported that "of the tens of thousands of emails investigators reviewed, 113 contained classified information, and three of those had classification markers."