Hillary Clinton has attempted to defuse a growing crisis over her controversial use of a private email account while Secretary of State, explaining that she had opted not to use a government email address as a "matter of convenience".
The front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination denied any wrongdoing in her unusual email practices in her first public comments about an uproar that has overshadowed the expected roll-out of her 2016 campaign.
In comments at the United Nations in New York after giving a speech on women's rights that was intended to burnish her credentials ahead of a long-awaited presidential run, the former first lady said she now regretted not separating her official and private emails, but defended her reasoning.
"As Secretary of State, I opted for convenience to use my personal account because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for work and personal emails," she said.
"Looking back, it would have been better if I used a second email account and carried a second phone, but at the time it didn't seem like an issue."
Her response is unlikely to allay concerns of Republican critics after she revealed that she had permanently deleted some 30,000 emails which she insisted contained purely personal information about things such as her yoga routines, her mother's funeral and her daughter's wedding plans.
Clinton said the remaining 30,000 emails - all those that she determined "could possibly be work-related" - had been turned over to the State Department for review and release.
She justified her decision to use a private email saying she had followed a precedent set by predecessors and that the vast majority of her communications were sent to "state.gov" addresses and therefore automatically archived.
But asked whether there had been any independent oversight of which emails she had chosen to delete, Clinton replied it was simply a matter of "trust" - as for any US government employees who used private emails.
"That is the way our system works. And so, we trust and count on the judgment of thousands, maybe millions of people to make those decisions, and I feel that I did that and even more - that I went above and beyond what I was requested to do," she said.
Clinton rejected the suggestion that she turn over her private-held email server to independent experts for scrutiny, saying that the emails contained personal communications with her husband, Bill Clinton. Conservative media quickly questioned the veracity of this claim, pointing to a report in yesterday's Wall Street Journal that the former President had sent only two emails in his life - both when he was in office. Telegraph Group Ltd