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The evolution of Hillary Clinton's email controversy

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at a grassroots organizing meeting at Philander Smith College Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, in Little Rock, Ark. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

As new polls show Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton losing ground to rival Bernie Sanders and, if he decides to run, Vice President Joe Biden, she continues to face questions about her use of a personal email account while she was secretary of state.

After submitting to relatively few national media interviews in the first four months of her campaign, Clinton has addressed the email issue in many media appearances this month. Although Clinton's apology allayed some concerns, new developments keep arising that further complicate the matter, the latest being reports that call into doubt when Clinton first started using the email address and whether all of her work-related messages actually were turned over to the State Department.

"I think I have done all that I can to take responsibility, to be as transparent as possible," Clinton said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday. She reiterated that using the private email address for government business was a mistake, but she again said that all of the emails her team had access to were turned over.

She also repeated a claim made in an MSNBC interview earlier this month that she had not put much thought into the email arrangement, a statement that host Chuck Todd seemed skeptical of.

However, Clinton explained that the private server was already there because her husband's office used it, so it was not difficult to put her email account on it.

As the media prepares for the release of the next monthly batch of Clinton's emails from the State Department, here is a look back at how the controversy has unfolded, and how Clinton's response to it has evolved.

January 13, 2009

Records show the ClintonEmail.com domain was created on January 13, 2009, the same day Clinton's confirmation hearing for the secretary of state nomination occurred.

January 21, 2009

Hillary Clinton was confirmed as secretary of state.

January 28, 2009

The earliest known email using the ClintonEmail.com address was found in an exchange between Clinton and then-Commander of U.S. Central Command David Petraeus from January 2009, according to an Associated Press report last week. The email chain consisted of ten messages sent between January 10 and February 1, beginning on Clinton's previous email account, but by January 28, Clinton began using the new private email address.

March 18, 2009

Prior to the revelation of the Petraeus emails, the earliest record the State Department had of Clinton's private email account being used was an email Clinton received on March 18, 2009. State Department documents released by Judicial Watch show the first recorded sent message from the account was dated April 13, 2009.

September 11, 2012

Terrorists attacked the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, killing Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

February 1, 2013

Clinton officially left the State Department on February 1, 2013.

March 2013

A hacker known as Guccifer gained access to the AOL account of Sidney Blumenthal, a former aide to Bill Clinton, including Blumenthal's correspondence with Hillary Clinton.

March 20, 2013

Gawker reported that screenshots released by Guccifer show Blumenthal sent messages to Clinton at a private email address. "Why was Clinton apparently receiving emails at a non-governmental email account?" the site asked.

Summer 2013

The Clintons hired a Denver-based technology firm called Platte River Networks to manage their server. The server was transported from their home to a secure data center in New Jersey, where it remained until it was turned over to the FBI two years later, according to the Denver Post.

July 2014

The Washington Post reported last week that Clinton's former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills communicated with Platte River about pulling copies of her emails in July 2014. Mills' attorney told the newspaper she was responding to a State Department request for the documents.

August 2014

During the summer of 2014, State Department officials processing requests for documents from the House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks realized they did not have many emails from Clinton. According to the New York Times, officials began negotiating with Clinton's lawyers and advisers in August 2014 to obtain copies of the emails.

August 11, 2014

The State Department turned over 15,000 pages of documents to the House Benghazi Committee that the committee reported only included eight emails to or from Clinton.

October 28, 2014

The State Department sent letters to Clinton and three other previous secretaries of state requesting their help in preserving records by turning over copies of work-related emails.

November 18, 2014

The House Benghazi Committee requested that the State Department produce more of Clinton's private emails.

December 5, 2014

In December 2014, Clinton turned over copies of more than 30,000 work-related emails to the State Department. A Clinton campaign fact sheet details how her attorneys determined which were work-related and which were personal, including searching for correspondences with .gov email accounts and for emails containing terms like "Libya" or "Benghazi."

Sometime between December and March

At some point, the emails Clinton's attorneys deemed personal were deleted.

March 2, 2015

On March 2, 2015, the New York Times reported for the first time that Clinton exclusively used a personal email account when she was secretary of state. A campaign spokesman told the paper Clinton's actions complied with the "letter and spirit of the rules."

March 4, 2015

Clinton publicly addressed the controversy on March 4, 2015, tweeting that she wanted the State Department to release her emails as soon as possible.

Also on March 4, the House Benghazi Committee subpoenaed all of Clinton's emails related to Libya or the Benghazi attacks. The Associated Press reported that Clinton's email account was traced to a private server in her Chappaqua, New York home.

March 10, 2015

Clinton held a press conference on March 10, answering questions in depth for the first time.

"When I got to work as secretary of state, I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two," Clinton said. "Looking back, it would've been better if I'd simply used a second email account and carried a second phone, but at the time, this didn't seem like an issue."

March 12, 2015

Three Senate Republicans sent a letter to the State Department inspector general's office asking him to investigate Clinton's email use in coordination with the inspector general for the intelligence community.

April 12, 2015

Clinton formally announced her candidacy for president on April 12.

May 19, 2015

On May 19, a federal judge ordered the State Department to release Clinton's emails to the public, following numerous freedom-of-information requests. A schedule was established for emails to be released in monthly batches through January 2016.

July 7, 2015

In her first national TV interview since announcing her presidential campaign, Clinton discussed the email controversy with CNN's Brianna Keilar.

Clinton blamed the criticism surrounding her regarding the emails and other issues on partisan attacks by Republicans.

"Everything I did was permitted. There was no law. There was no regulation. There was nothing that did not give me the full authority to decide how I was going to communicate...I turned over everything I was obligated to turn over. And then I moved on," she said.

At this point, some of the emails had been released. "I think it's kind of fun. People get to see a real-time, behind-the-scenes look at what I was emailing about and what I was communicating about," Clinton said of the mostly mundane details that had been revealed in them.

July 8, 2015

The day after the CNN interview, in which Clinton said, "I've never had a subpoena," the House Benghazi Committee released a copy of the subpoena it issued in March claiming it contradicted her statement. However, Clinton's campaign said that in the context of the interview, she was saying she was not under subpoena when her personal emails were deleted, which happened before March.

July 23, 2015

The New York Times reported that the inspectors general for the State Department and the intelligence community had asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation of Clinton's possible mishandling of classified material.

July 24, 2015

The New York Times report was heavily revised the following day to state that the inquiry the inspectors general were requesting from the Justice Department is not a criminal investigation and Clinton is not specifically the target of it. Clinton's campaign later released a lengthy criticism of the Times' handling of the story and the subsequent corrections.

Documents released by the inspector general for the intelligence community indicated that a review of 40 of Clinton's emails found four that "should have been marked and handled at the SECRET level."

July 25, 2015

While campaigning in Iowa, Clinton told reporters, "I am confident that I never sent nor received any information that was classified at the time it was sent and received."

August 11, 2015

In a letter to members of Congress, the inspector general for intelligence community stated that two of Clinton's emails were judged to have contained classified information when they originated. The emails were referred to the State Department for final determination of their current classification. Also on August 11, Clinton's attorney provided Clinton's private server to the FBI, along with a thumb drive containing a copy of her emails. Media reports at the time indicated the server had been "wiped," but reports since have suggested that some of the erased contents were recoverable.

August 14, 2015

At the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding Dinner, Clinton joked about Snapchat: "I love it. I love it. Those messages disappear all by themselves."

August 15, 2015

On August 15, Clinton spoke to reporters at the Iowa State Fair, repeating that, "I never sent classified material on my email, and I never received any that was marked classified."

August 18, 2015

Questioned about the alleged wiping of her server at a press conference in Las Vegas, Clinton responded, "What? Like with a cloth or something?"

Leaving the event, Clinton said to reporters of the email controversy, "Nobody talks to me about it, other than you guys."

August 19, 2015

The Associated Press reported that Clinton's attorney told the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee the contents of Clinton's server were erased at some point prior to turning it over to the FBI.

August 26, 2015

Speaking at an event in Iowa, Clinton took a more serious tone regarding the email issue than in other recent comments.

"My use of personal email was allowed by the State Department. It clearly wasn't the best choice. I should have used two emails -- one personal, one for work -- and I take responsibility for that decision," she said.

September 3, 2015

Former Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills testified before the House Benghazi Committee.

According to Politico, a source said she told the committee no work-related emails were withheld or destroyed.

September 4, 2015

"I am sorry that this has been confusing for people and has raised a lot of questions," Clinton said in a September 4 interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, the closest statement to an apology she had made so far.

Clinton told Mitchell, "I did not send or receive any material marked classified...I take classified material very, very serious, and we followed all the rules on classified material."

In the interview, Clinton also claimed that she did not think much about her email arrangement at the time that it was set up.

"I was not thinking a lot when I got in. There was so much work to be done. We had so many problems around the world. I didn't really stop and think what kind of email system will there be."

Also on September 4, Clinton staffer Jake Sullivan testified before the committee.

"I was happy to answer every question the committee had and I'm looking forward to Labor Day weekend, and I wouldn't speak further about this because of the nature of the conversation in a classified session," he told reporters afterward.

September 7, 2015

In an interview with the Associated Press, Clinton said there was no need to apologize because her actions were allowed.

"I did not send or receive any information marked classified. I take the responsibilities of handling classified materials very seriously and did so," Clinton said.

September 8, 2015

Clinton apologized for using a private server in a September 8 interview with ABC News, but she maintained that what she did was allowed and "above board."

"That was a mistake. I'm sorry about that. I take responsibility. And I'm trying to be as transparent as I possibly can to not only release 55,000 pages of my e-mails, turn over my server," Clinton said.

She also said that many others in the government were aware of her email practices.

"It was totally above board. Everybody in the government I communicated with -- and that was a lot of people-- knew I was using a personal e-mail. But I'm sorry that it has, you know, raised all of these questions. I do take responsibility for having made what is clearly not the best decision."

September 10, 2015

Clinton discussed the email issue again on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" airing September 10, saying, "I used a personal email account, I was allowed by the State Department. But I should have used two different accounts. I made a mistake and I am sorry for all the confusion that has ensued."

Also on September 10, the former State Department IT staffer who helped set up Clinton's private server, Bryan Pagliano, invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer questions from the House Benghazi Committee.

September 16, 2015

Clinton appeared on "The Tonight Show" on September 16, joking with host Jimmy Fallon about how boring the emails that have been released are.

"Nothing that was sent at the time or received was secret. This is all retroactive," Clinton said of the emails that are now considered classified.

September 20, 2015

On CBS' "Face the Nation," Clinton was asked what exactly she was apologizing for.

She responded, "Well, you know, I'm sorry that I made a choice that has raised all of these questions, because I don't like reading that people have questions about what I did and how I did it. I'm proud of the work we did at the State Department. And I'm really proud of all the career professionals I worked with. I'm proud of the people who came in with me. And we got sanctions on Iran, put together that international coalition. We got a new arms treaty with Russia. We did a lot of really important work. And I want that to be the focus of what people know about my tenure at the State Department."

September 22, 2015

In a statement to the Washington Post on September 22, a State Department spokesman confirmed that the agency attempted to obtain Clinton's emails in the summer of 2014 and indicated, contrary to her claims, that the review was because of her email practices, not general record-keeping.

"In the process of responding to congressional document requests pertaining to Benghazi, State Department officials recognized that it had access to relatively few email records from former Secretary Clinton," the statement said. "State Department officials contacted her representatives during the summer of 2014 to learn more about her email use and the status of emails in that account."

In response to the report, Clinton's campaign continued to point to the fact that email records were later requested from Clinton and three other former secretaries of state in October 2014, as she has said.

Asked about the discrepancy in an interview with the Des Moines Register that day, Clinton said she was not aware of the new report.

"You're telling me something I don't know," she said. "All I know is what I have said. What I have said is it was allowed. The State Department has confirmed that. The same letter went to, as far as I know, my predecessors, and I'm the one who said, 'Hey, I'll be glad to help.'"

September 25, 2015

On September 25, the Associated Press first reported about the January 2009 email exchange between Clinton and Petraeus that revealed the use of her personal email address earlier than previously believed. Clinton's campaign said that she was not yet using the private server at that point and did not have copies of those emails.

Also on September 25, the State Department revealed that 925 more emails related to Benghazi would be turned over to the House committee that were not previously disclosed.

September 27, 2015

Clinton addressed the latest developments in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.

"I have said also that if I had to do it all over again, I would have used a separate email account. I did it for convenience and it turned out not to be that at all," she said, reiterating her explanation for why she used the personal account. She described it as something she did not give much thought to at the time.

"I wasn't that focused on my email account, to be clear here...[The server] was already there. It had been there for years. It was the system that my husband's personal office had used," she explained.

"Everything that we had access to certainly was out there," she said, and she noted that the Petraeus exchange was found on a government server.

"I can't control the technical aspects of it. I'm not by any means a technical person," she said when host Chuck Todd asked further questions.

Clinton expressed frustration with the way information has been released and said she cannot predict whether emails released in the future will raise additional questions.

"It is like a drip, drip, drip, and that's why I have said there's only so much that I can control...I want these questions to be answered. I can't predict you what the republicans will come up with, what kind of charges or claims they might make," she said.

She also repeated that using the personal account was a mistake.

"Of course I take responsibility. It was my choice. It was a mistake back when I did it, and I'm trying to do the best I can to answer all of the questions that people have."

Appearing on CNN's "GPS with Fareed Zakaria," her husband Bill Clinton defended her, blaming the controversy on Republicans and "people who wanted there to be a race for different reasons." He also minimized the significance of the issue and praised her handling of it.

"I actually am amazed that she's borne up under it as well as she has. But I have never seen so much expended on so little," he said.

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