Secretary of State John Kerry told lawmakers on Wednesday he had no knowledge that Hillary Clinton used a private email server when she headed the State Department despite sending at least one email to Clinton’s personal account when he was a senator, the content of which has now been classified as "secret."
Kerry said he was unaware of Clinton’s private email while appearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee to testify on the foreign affairs budget for the fiscal year 2017.
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During the congressional hearing, Sen. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) asked Kerry if he knew about the personal account when he emailed Clinton.
"Since it has been reported in those two articles that you personally communicated with Secretary Clinton, your personal email to her personal email, is it true that you were aware that she had a personal email and that she used it regularly?’ Issa asked Kerry.
"I had no knowledge of what kind of email she had," Kerry said in response. "I was given an email address, and I sent it to her."
Issa then asked Kerry if he looked at the email address and noticed if it ended with "dot-gov" or would have noticed if it was such an account.
"I didn’t think about it," Kerry responded. "I didn’t know she had an account or what the department gave her at that point in time or what she was operating with. I had no knowledge."
Issa said that he appreciated "the responsive answer that you didn’t know you were sending to her personal email from your personal email."
Kerry sent at least one now-largely redacted email to Clinton on May 19, 2011 from his own private account when he was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The email, which referenced India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, was classified as "secret," a classification level in between "confidential’ and "top secret," because it contained sensitive information about foreign governments and U.S. foreign policy.
State Department spokesman John Kirby said earlier this month that the email account Kerry used is no longer active.
The FBI has been investigating whether Clinton mishandled classified information with her private email server while serving as secretary of state since at least August.
At least 1,730 of Clinton’s emails contain classified information, and the State Department is set to release the rest of her emails by the end of the month.
Some of the information on Clinton’s homebrewed server has been considered too dangerous to release to the public for national security reasons because of how sensitive the intelligence is.
Critics of Clinton have said her email practices show bad judgment and put classified information at risk of being hacked by U.S. adversaries like Iran, China, and Russia, all points that the current Democratic presidential frontrunner has rejected on the campaign trail.