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Yarmuth Says Hillary Clinton Still 'Best Candidate' For Democratic Presidential Nod


A day after criticizing presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's handling of the email server controversy, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth said he believes she is the best candidate for the Democratic presidential nominee.

Clinton has been under fire for using a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State. On Wednesday, Yarmuth, a Democrat from Louisville, told WHAS-11's Joe Arnold that she hasn’t been handling the backlash well.

“Clearly, she has handled it poorly from the first day and there’s the appearance of dishonesty, if it’s not dishonest,” he told Arnold.

“I still think there is a chance this could upend her campaign.”

Politico called Yarmuth's comments “the sharpest criticism of Hillary Clinton’s email scandal yet from a Democratic member of Congress.”

Yarmuth had previously expressed support for Clinton's candidacy. In June, he said his endorsement of Clinton was “pretty much a done deal.”

“I will be excited by a Hillary Clinton candidacy,” he said in June after announcing his campaign for re-election. “I have not yet formally endorsed her — she hasn’t asked me. But I fully expect her to be the nominee and I think she will be a great president.”

On Thursday, Yarmuth said he still believes Clinton would be a great president.

“What I said yesterday was basically to state the obvious,” Yarmuth told WFPL News.

“If it’s found she broke the law and lied about it, that would disqualify her as a presidential candidate. But I don’t think at this point there is any reason to think that is the case.”

The Justice Department is investigating whether classified information leaked through Clinton's use of a private email server.

In June, Yarmuth told reporters that Clinton has also done a good job of addressing issues important to progressive Democrats.

Clinton is being challenged from the progressive side of the party by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who Yarmuth described on Thursday as a "crusader." Recent polls show Sanders as the nearest challenger to Clinton for the Democratic nomination but trailing by double-digit margins.

On Thursday, Yarmuth said Sanders wouldn't make for "the best kind of general election candidate" or president. But Yarmuth said he’s been impressed with the  recent turnout to Sanders’ rallies. Still, he said he doesn’t see Sanders' recent gains in support as a significant problem for Clinton.

“She clearly is the most qualified and best candidate for the Democratic Party of those who have announced that they are running,” he said of Clinton.