A key word in the Clinton email investigation: ‘Knowingly’ – Los Angeles Times

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of State may have been risky and politically unwise, but many experts in national security law predict it will not lead to criminal charges, based on what is known so far of her handling of classified government material.

That’s because even a misdemeanor charge for mishandling classified information would require proof that Clinton knew she was keeping government secrets at “an unauthorized location.”

Clinton has repeatedly said that she did not knowingly send or receive emails that were marked classified, and that her use of a personal email server — while not “the best choice” — was not illegal or unauthorized.

But these lawyers also caution that much remains unknown about Clinton’s unusual email system and they say the Democratic front-runner remains vulnerable, both politically and legally, because of the ongoing FBI inquiry and a newly energized Republican-led House committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others.

That investigation appeared to be going nowhere, but it gained new focus in late February when GOP staffers learned for the first time why they had received only a handful of State Department emails to or from the secretary of State. They had not been told until then that Clinton had not used the State Department’s email server and instead relied exclusively on a personal system.

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