Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who declared during last month's Democratic presidential debate that "the American people are sick and tired" of hearing about Hillary Clinton's private email account, on Wednesday defended a federal probe into the matter and said it should continue.
“You get 12 seconds to say these things,” Sanders told The Wall Street Journal, referring to his comments at the debate. “There’s an investigation going on right now. I did not say, ‘End the investigation.’ That’s silly. ... Let the investigation proceed unimpeded.”
In one of the most memorable moments of the debate, Sanders chided the media for focusing on Clinton's email scandal instead of substantive policy issues.
"The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!" he said, with Clinton nodding and smiling in agreement.
In Wednesday's interview, Sanders clarified that his comments were not meant to dismiss the controversy over Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. He said federal agencies examining Clinton's emails have raised “valid questions,” such as whether the emails contained classified information.
Sanders, with his lead in polls of early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire slipping, said he intends to go after Clinton more aggressively on the campaign trail. Though he insisted he won't attack Clinton personally, he has stepped up attacks on her policy positions, attempting to contrast himself as a more consistent progressive voice and paint Clinton as a political opportunist.
"It is important to see which candidates have the courage to cast tough votes, to take on very, very powerful interests," Sanders said.
Also on HuffPost: