WASHINGTON: Facing tough questioning to kick off Wednesday’s Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton expressed confidence she will not face indictment over her use of a private email account while secretary of state.
She was also called to account for her stunning loss to rival Bernie Sanders in Tuesday’s primary in Michigan, and pressed on whether or not she believed that the Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, is a racist.
Clinton’s use of a homebrew email server and private account is under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Republicans argue that sending and receiving sensitive emails on an unsecure system endangered national security.
Moderators of the debate, hosted by Spanish-language US network Univision, asked her point black if she would drop out of the race if she were indicted over the email scandal.
“Oh for goodness… that is not going to happen. I am not even answering that question,” Clinton said, bristling at the moderator’s persistence.
When she was asked who gave her permission to use a private server, Clinton acknowledged that she “made a mistake” in using such a setup, but insisted “my predecessors did the same thing.”
“I’m not concerned about it, I’m not worried about it,” the Democratic frontrunner said of the issue.
And pressed on why she suffered a shock loss to Sanders in Michigan, Clinton was reflective — but would not acknowledge campaign mistakes.
“I was pleased that I got 100,000 more votes last night than my opponent and more delegates” in Michigan and Mississippi combined, she said.
“So this is a marathon, and it’s a marathon that can only be carried out by the kind of inclusive campaign that I’m running.”
On Trump, Clinton said it was up to voters to decide about his controversial views, but reminded the public that “I called him out when he was calling Mexicans rapists.”
“I said ‘basta’ (enough)” to such language, Clinton said, drawing loud applause from the audience.
“His rhetoric, his demagoguery, his trafficking in prejudice and paranoia has no place in our political system.”