Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York asked "can we talk about it later? I have to go to my vote," she said before offering up a press staffer's name. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota also said she was in a rush to get to votes.
A few—including Sens. Barbara Boxer, Chris Murphy and Tom Carper—came to Clinton's defense. It's not unusual for a secretary of State to use a personal email address, they said, and a law that only allows government officials to use private email accounts if they adhere to specified stipulations went into effect after Clinton left her cabinet post.
"I'd be surprised if a number of secretaries of State hadn't done that for as long as we've had email," Carper, of Delaware, said. "That's all I'm going to say."
"That's a nothing burger. Total," California's Boxer said. "There isn't one secretary of State that ever did that because the law didn't change until after she left, so they're making a mountain out of a molehill."
But most Senate Democrats who stopped to answer reporters' questions outside the Senate on Wednesday pleaded ignorance on the issue.
As Virginia Sen. Mark Warner strode through the Capitol basement, headed to cast a vote on the upper chamber's floor, he said he needed to understand more before commenting.
Montana Sen. Jon Tester was near the elevator a few minutes later, offering a similar answer: "I'm really not up to speed on that," he said. "I'm really not. I'm sorry."
New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen repeated the same refrain later, saying "I don't know enough about it to appropriately respond."
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As the elevator doors closed, Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware said at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, "I literally don't know anything about her home internet system."
And as Sen. Ron Wyden—a strong advocate for government transparency—headed toward the Senate office buildings, he said he was busy at the Supreme Court all Wednesday morning.
"I haven't had a chance to go through that. "¦ I'm going to have to go onto health," as other reporters waited to ask their questions. "I just don't have time for that one," Wyden said, indicating the question could be revisited after he'd had more time to read the latest Clinton news.
Senators Claire McCaskill and Joe Manchin, however, neither avoided the question nor toed the party line. While, McCaskill too wanted to know more, she said she is "focused" on making sure the information is publicly available somewhere.
"The most important thing is to make sure the information was archived in some way and made available in some way," McCaskill said. When probed by a reporter as to what happens if the e-mails are not archived somewhere, McCaskill said, "It has to be now."
Manchin also had heard the news. He wants to see what other facts, if any, come out of the controversy, but "it sounds like somebody made a mistake."