9 Important Facts About the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal

(Photo: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shakes hands with rival candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders (L) and thanks him for saying that he and the American people are sick of hearing about her State Department email controversy and want to hear about issues that effect their lives, as they participate in the first official Democratic candidates debate of the 2016 presidential campaign in Las Vegas, Nevada October 13, 2015.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared triumphant and invigorated after Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders bellowed, "Enough with the damn e-mails!" at last week's Democrat debate in Las Vegas.

The scandal, which some have compared to Watergate because of its "drip" effect, first surfaced in March and threatens to unravel a campaign that was once seen as a coronation. Clinton, who has brushed aside past scandals like Whitewater and Travelgate, wants to turn the email controversy into the past tense as well.

Sanders was saying the issue was not that important to voters, while chastising the media for covering the topic. A liberal Washington Post reporter disagrees.

While a majority of Democrats would like the see the issue go away, a majority of Americans believe Clinton is deserving of additional scrutiny on the issue, Philip Bump wrote. So with that in mind, let us scrutinize.

Below are nine facts on the email scandal:

1. The first major media profile of the controversy appeared March 2 in The New York Times.

The article points out that Clinton did not set up an official state department email account attached to a secure government server, which possibly violates federal law.

2. Clinton's personal email account was first discovered by the Select Committee on Benghazi led by Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.

The committee, part of the U.S. House, discovered the personal emails this year during their effort to obtain correspondence between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her aides. The committee was formed in 2014 by the House to investigate Islamic terrorists that attacked and murdered American servicemen and diplomats at a U.S. Consulate outpost in Benghazi.

Many believe that the handling of the Benghazi disaster in 2012 was bungled by Clinton and the White House. Clinton took some of the blame for the security lapses and Benghazi but famously declared in front of the House committee, "What difference, at this point, does it make?"

3. The FBI seized Clinton's server in August.

After vowing to not give up her personal server, Clinton was prompted to turn over the server after classified emails were discovered. Clinton now claims she voluntarily provided the server to the FBI.

A federal judge had declared that Clinton's use of a private server and emails were in direct opposition to government policy and ordered the agency and State Department to do their best to recover the content of the server.

Currently, some of the content from the server has been recovered and much of it could eventually be released. Data firm Platte River Networks reportedly provided backups of all of Clinton's emails to the FBI.

4. Clinton initially claimed there was not classified information in the emails, which was not true.

An important facet of the scandal is that Clinton initially claimed there was no classified information on her own server. According to Clinton, none were marked classified, but investigators quickly uncovered evidence to the contrary. Clinton has shifted to saying that none were marked classified at the time she received them.

"In her 20-minute news conference, Clinton said she had deleted e-mails that she believed were 'within the scope of my personal privacy' — including, she said, correspondence about daughter Chelsea's wedding, her mother Dorothy's funeral, her yoga routines and family vacations," reported The Washington Post in March.

Clinton added in the news conference that she did nothing wrong but felt "it might have been smarter" to use a different account to house State Department work and correspondence. She explained that the main reason for having a private email account was for convenience so she would not have to carry two phones. In an earlier interview, however, she said she used four devices for email — an iPhone, iPad, iPad mini and a Blackberry.

5. Hoping to finally put the scandal behind her, Clinton apologized for her private emails and server in September.

"As I look back at it now, even though it was allowed, I should have used two accounts. That was a mistake. I'm sorry about that. I take responsibility," Clinton told ABC News.

6. President Barack Obama did not publicly comment on the scandal until October 11.

Obama defended his former secretary of State, telling "60 Minutes" her private email account did not "pose a national security problem." Obama conceded it was a mistake but thought the controversy was "ginned-up" for political reasons.

7. Clinton's server had weak security, and Russia-backed hackers may have gained access.

The server was connected to the internet in a way that compromised its security for the purpose of convenience.

According to the AP, Russia tried to hack into the server at least five times. It is still unclear whether her files were compromised but remains an important part of the investigation going forward.

8. Clinton confidante Sidney Blumenthal may have used his influence to advance personal business interests in Libya, released emails reveal.

Blumenthal, a personal adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton, traded hundreds of emails with the former secretary of State over strategy and tactics in how to handle Libya. Blumenthal was employed by the Clinton Foundation at the time, and was not working for the State Department. Indeed, Blumenthal had previously been blocked by the White House from serving in the Obama administration.

Simultaneously, Blumenthal, while sending Clinton intelligence reports and pushing specific policies, had his own separate private security investment interests in the country. Gowdy wrote of the significance in an Oct. 7 letter to ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings.

"Beyond the pure politics that were occurring at this time, perhaps more disturbing is that at the same time Blumenthal was pushing Secretary Clinton to war in Libya, he was privately pushing a business interest of his own in Libya that stood to profit from contracts with the new Libyan government — a government that would exist only after a successful U.S. intervention in Libya that deposed Qaddafi," Gowdy wrote.

Those emails were not turned over to the committee by Clinton, who had previously said there were no relevant emails on Benghazi. They were turned over by the State Department.

9. Clinton will testify Thursday in front of the Benghazi Committee on Capitol Hill.

The Blumenthal emails and conflict of interest is one of the issues Gowdy plans to ask Clinton about when she testifies before the Benghazi committee later this week.

Most Democrats continue to argue that the congressional committee is a partisan witch hunt to damage Clinton's political aspirations. The former first lady and secretary of State has herself said the committee is a "partisan arm of the Republican National Committee."

Gowdy says the committee has several pieces of new evidence and its time to speak again to Clinton. She tried to downplay the testimony to CNN's Jake Tapper, declaring, "I will do my best to answer their questions, but I don't really know what their objective is right now."