Hempstead, United States: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump traded blows on the debate stage Monday over the Democrat's use of a private email server as secretary of state, and the Republican billionaire's refusal to release his tax history.
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- It was a mistake, I take responsibility for it: Clinton on email scandal
"I will release my tax returns against my lawyer's wishes when she releases her 33,000 e-mails that have been deleted," Trump said when pressed on the issue during their crucial first White House debate.
"If I had to do it over again, I would, obviously, do it differently," Clinton acknowledged about her use of private email. "But I'm not going to make any excuses. It was a mistake and I take responsibility for that."
"That was not a mistake. That was done purposely," Trump interjected, saying it was "disgraceful" that Clinton staff, including the man who set up the Clintons' home server, were allowed to take the constitutional privilege of declining to answer investigators' questions about the incident.
Clinton shot back that such a challenge was "another example of bait and switch here," noting that presidential candidates for the last 40 years have released their tax returns.
"I have no reason to believe that he's ever going to release his tax returns, because there's something he's hiding," Clinton said.
While Democrats have seized on Trump's refusal to release tax data, Clinton's use of private email while the nation's top diplomat has hounded her throughout the 15-month duration of her presidential campaign.
In December 2014, after a formal request by the State Department, Clinton turned over more than 30,000 emails. Months later, she announced that she had asked the department to make public many of those, while also saying that she deleted more than 32,000 other personal emails.
Trump and other Republicans have repeatedly argued that Clinton may have deleted emails in order to prevent information damaging to Clinton from becoming public.