Former Secretary of State Colin Powell says he has no “recollection” of a dinner conversation he had with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in which he presumably advised her to use a personal email account while in office.
However, Powell said in a statement to the Associated Press that he sent the Democratic nominee a memo detailing his use of a personal AOL email account shortly after she took the role of secretary of state in 2009. Powell, who was secretary of state when George W. Bush was president, said he told Clinton that his use of a personal account “vastly improved” communications within the department, which back then did not have an equivalent internal system. He also clarified that he used his personal email account only for unclassified messages.
Powell said the FBI may have gotten hold of a copy of his memo to the presidential candidate in their investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server.
His comments came after it was revealed in notes from a report given to Congress this week that Hillary Clinton told the FBI in an interview that Powell had advised her to use a personal email account while she served in the state department, according to the New York Times.
The claims have also been made in an upcoming book by journalist Joe Conason, “Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton,” in which the author detailed a 2009 dinner party attended by other former secretaries of state, including Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Henry Kissinger, and Madeleine Albright.
The book says that at the dinner, the former secretaries of state gave Clinton advice, and during dessert, Powell recommended to the Democratic nominee that she should use a private email account while in office.
Clinton told Powell that she had already planned to continue using the private server set up in the basement of her home, which she had used while she ran for president in 2008, according to the book.
The revelations come after FBI Director James Comey recommended no criminal charges following a year-long investigation into Clinton’s mishandling of classified emails and use of a private email server.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.