Matt Lauer mercilessly grills Hillary Clinton on her use of a private email server

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Matt Lauer grilled Hillary Clinton on Wednesday evening over her handling of classified information and use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

Lauer's second question at NBC's Commander-In-Chief Forum was about the email scandal, and he pressed the Democratic presidential nominee as she tried to explain how she handled classified information.

"The word judgment has been used a lot around you, Secretary Clinton over the last year and a half, and in particular concerning your use of your personal email and server to communicate while you were secretary of state," Lauer said.

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Hillary Clinton heated debate moments
US Democratic presidential candidates Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) (L) and Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) shake hands at the conclusion of the Texas Democratic Party's presidential candidates debate at the University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas, February 21, 2008. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (L) speaks as Senator Bernie Sanders reacts during a Democratic debate hosted by CNN and New York One at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York April 14, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) listens as Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) speaks during the CNN/Nevada Democratic Party debate at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) in Las Vegas, Nevada November 15, 2007. REUTERS/Steve Marcus (UNITED STATES)
U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) looks out into the crowd before the start of the democratic presidential debate at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire September 26, 2007. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES)
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gestures at rival Bernie Sanders as she speaks during the Democratic U.S. presidential candidates' debate in Flint, Michigan, March 6, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young
Hillary Rodham Clinton (right) speaks during the first New York Senatorial Debate as Representative Rick Lazio (R-NY) (left) watches at WNED public television station in Buffalo, New York, September 13, 2000. Clinton and Lazio are running against each other for the Senate seat from the State of New York being vacated by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. BM/RCS
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (L) speaks as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks on as they discuss issues during the Democratic presidential candidates debate sponsored by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire, February 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (L) and her Republican challenger John Spencer prepare for their debate in New York October 22, 2006. REUTERS/Keith Bedford (UNITED STATES)
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shares a laugh with fellow candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders at the conclusion of the second official 2016 U.S. Democratic presidential candidates debate in Des Moines, Iowa, November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young (TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) looks on as Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) speaks during the last debate before the Ohio primary in Cleveland, Ohio, February 26, 2008. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)
US Democratic presidential candidates Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) square off in the last debate before the Ohio primary in Cleveland, Ohio February 26, 2008. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)
Democratic presidential candidate US Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) gestures as she answers a question during the MSNBC/Nevada Democratic Party presidential candidates debate in Las Vegas January 15, 2008. REUTERS/Steve Marcus (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)
Democratic presidential candidates Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) speaks as Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) listens during the MSNBC/Nevada Democratic Party Presidential Candidate's debate in Las Vegas January 15, 2008. REUTERS/Steve Marcus (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)
Democratic presidential candidates Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) (L) and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) wait before the South Carolina Democratic party's presidential candidates debate at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, South Carolina, April 26, 2007. REUTERS/Jim Bourg (UNITED STATES)
Republican Senate candidate Rick Lazio (L) and Democratic Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton (R) pose for photogarphers before their debate in a television studio in New York on October 27, 2000. Lazio, a Long Island congressman, and the first lady are vying for the seat held by retiring Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. NBC newsman Gabe Pressman (C) moderated the taped debate. PM/ME
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He then asked: "Why wasn't it disqualifying, if you want to be commander-in-chief?"

Clinton repeated past statements about her use of a private server being a mistake.

"As I have said repeatedly, it was a mistake to have a personal account," Clinton said. "I would certainly not do it again. I make no excuses for it. It was something that should not have been done."

She pivoted to defending her assertion that she never mishandled classified information, contrary to FBI Director James Comey's statement saying she was "extremely careless" in handling classified information.

"The real question is the handling of classified material, which is I think what the implication of what your question was," Clinton said. "[I] have a lot of experience dealing with classified material. ... Classified material has a header which has top secret, secret, confidential. Nothing, and I will repeat this and this is verified in the report by the Department of Justice, none of the emails sent or received by me had such a header."

Lauer pressed on, asking, "Were some of the emails sent or received by you referring to our drone program, our covert drone program?"

Clinton responded "yes."

"Of course there were no discussions of any of the covert actions in process being determined about whether or not to go forward," Clinton said. "But every part of our government had to deal with questions and our secretary of state's office was first and foremost, so there are ways of talking about the drone program in —"

Lauer cut in.

"And you said you thought your communications on that were fairly routine," he said.

Clinton responded, "Well, let me just say, the FBI just released their report about their investigation. They discussed drone matters in the unclassified section of the report."

Lauer pointed out that Comey also said that "there is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton's position should have known that an unclassified system is no place for that conversation."

Clinton noted that experienced foreign policy experts and defense officials were communicating on an unclassified system.

Lauer pivoted to the question of whether hostile actors could have accessed Clinton's emails that were stored on her private server.

"Matt, there is no evidence, of course anything is possible, but what is factual is the State Department's system was hacked," Clinton said. "Most of the government systems are way behind the curve. We've had hacking repeatedly, even in the White House. There is no evidence my system was hacked."

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