60 Minutes

October 11, 2015 – In the midst of a FBI criminal investigation into Clinton’s emails, Obama claims on 60 Minutes that Hillary made a mistake and it was not a threat to national security

TRANSCRIPT:

“After a short break for a few sips of water, our interview with President Obama resumed turning to politics, Hillary Clinton’s emails and the president’s thoughts about his last 15 months in office.

President Barack Obama: What else you got?

Steve Kroft: OK. Mr. President, there are a lot of serious problems with the world right now, but I want to ask you a few questions about politics.

President Barack Obama: Yeah, go ahead.

Steve Kroft: Did you know about Hillary Clinton’s use of private email server–

President Barack Obama: No.

Steve Kroft: –while she was Secretary of State?

President Barack Obama: No.

Steve Kroft: Do you think it posed a national security problem?

President Barack Obama: I don’t think it posed a national security problem. I think that it was a mistake that she has acknowledged and– you know, as a general proposition, when we’re in these offices, we have to be more sensitive and stay as far away from the line as possible when it comes to how we handle information, how we handle our own personal data. And, you know, she made a mistake. She has acknowledged it. I do think that the way it’s been ginned-up is in part because of– in part– because of politics. And I think she’d be the first to acknowledge that maybe she could have handled the original decision better and the disclosures more quickly. But–

Steve Kroft: What was your reaction when you found out about it?

President Barack Obama: This is one of those issues that I think is legitimate, but the fact that for the last three months this is all that’s been spoken about is an indication that we’re in a presidential political season.

Steve Kroft: Do you agree with what President Clinton has said and Secretary Clinton has said, that this is not– not that big a deal. Do you agree with that?

President Barack Obama: Well, I’m not going to comment on–

Steve Kroft: You think it’s not that big a deal–

President Barack Obama: What I think is that it is important for her to answer these questions to the satisfaction of the American public. And they can make their own judgment. I can tell you that this is not a situation in which America’s national security was endangered.

Steve Kroft: This administration has prosecuted people for having classified material on their private computers.

President Barack Obama: Well, I– there’s no doubt that there had been breaches, and these are all a matter of degree. We don’t get an impression that here there was purposely efforts– on– in– to hide something or to squirrel away information. But again, I’m gonna leave it to–

Steve Kroft: If she had come to you.

President Barack Obama: I’m going to leave it to Hillary when she has an interview with you to address all these questions.

(60 Minutes, 10/11/2015) (Video archived)