Hillary Clinton is trying to use Colin Powell as a scapegoat to vindicate herself over her private email server and her mishandling of classified information, Powell said over the weekend.
"Her people have been trying to pin it on me," the former secretary of state said in an interview published Sunday night in People magazine. "The truth is, she was using [the private email server] for a year before I sent her a memo telling her what I did."
Powell added that he "has no recollection of the dinner conversation" where Clinton alleged he advised her to use her own system for emailing, though he said he did send her "an email memo describing his use of his personal AOL email account for unclassified messages and how it vastly improved communications within the State Department."
Powell, 79, served as secretary of state from 2001-05. According to notes released by the FBI last week, Clinton told the agency in a July interview that she established a private server after Powell advised her to.
Clinton, who established the server at the beginning of her 2009-13 tenure leading the agency, has long argued that her predecessors engaged in similar practices. One distinction critics have made is the fact that Powell sent just two emails over his private AOL account that were retroactively marked as classified, while Clinton sent more than 2,000.
The FBI typically seeks to corroborate the claims made by interview subjects over the course of an investigation. It is unclear why the agency did not check with Powell before Director James Comey released his recommendation on the case July 5 when he said the agency was not going to recommend any punishment.
The House Judiciary Committee is set to hold a hearing next month to investigate whether claims Clinton made to Congress last year constitute perjury. Witnesses in the hearing have not been confirmed, though aides have said Comey is a top prospect.
Despite Clinton's potentially misleading invocation of his name, Powell said, "It doesn't bother me … I'm free."