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Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, by the numbers

We broke it down.


Alexandra Samuels


Posted on Jul 5, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 12:19 pm CDT

On Tuesday morning, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced its conclusion into the probe of Hillary Clinton‘s email scandal. During a press conference Tuesday morning, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey said the FBI will not recommend the Department of Justice bring charges against Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. 

The FBI found more than 100 emails that contained information that was classified at the time they were sent and received. However, evidence points to “carelessness” rather than intentional violations. 

“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information,” Comey said, “there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”

In a statement, Clinton’s campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said her team is “pleased that the career officials handling this case have determined that no further action by the Department is appropriate. As the Secretary has long said, it was a mistake to use her personal email and she would not do it again.” 

The scandal over Clinton’s emails began in March 2015, a few months before she formally announced her bid for the White House. However, a lot has happened since the initial scandal broke. Here’s a breakdown of Clinton’s email scandal by the numbers: 

7: Number of years since this whole thing started. In January 2009, Clinton became secretary of state and began using a personal account,, housed on a private server. According to the New York Times, the State Department’s policy said that “normal day-to-day operations” were to be conducted on an authorized system.

4: Number of years since the Benghazi, Libya attack in 2012, which brought light to Clinton’s private email account. After Clinton left office in 2013, State Department staff reviewing the Benghazi attacks discovered correspondence between Clinton’s private email and the government accounts of her staff.

30,000: Emails turned over by Clinton to the State Department in 2014.

32,000: Number of personal messages Clinton reportedly deleted soon after announcing that she asked the State Department to release emails from those she handed over.

16: Number of months since the scandal was brought to light in March 2015. 

14: Number of months since the State Department began releasing pages of Clinton’s emails in May 2015. 

56: Percent of Americans who don’t see Clinton as “honest” and “trustworthy,” according to a 2015 poll run by the Washington Post/ABC News. 

55: Percent of Americans who disagreed with how Clinton is handling questions about her use of a private email account, according to the same poll. 

5: Months since the last of the 30,000 emails were made public in February 2016.

“Several thousand”: Rough number of emails discovered by FBI investigators that were not released by the State Department, according to Comey.

8: Number of email chains on Clinton’s servers that contained “Top Secret” material “at the time they were sent.” This is the highest level of classification. 

8: Number of email chains on Clinton’s servers that contained “Confidential” information, which is the lowest level of classification.

36: Number of chains that contained “Secret” information at the time.

110: Number of emails said to contain “Classified” information.

2,000: Separate from those aforementioned, about 2,000 additional e-mails were “up-classified” to make them Confidential. The information in these emails were not classified at the time the emails were sent.

2: Number of tweets, as of publication time, presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has sent voicing his frustration after the FBI’s announcement. 

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*First Published: Jul 5, 2016, 4:32 pm CDT