If you commit a crime and are investigated/arrested/prosecuted/impeached, the question of “criminal intent” will boil down to this:

Did you intend to commit the act which constitutes a crime?

That is, did you intend to shoplift that DVD? Did you intend to fraudulently write “office supplies” next to the petty cash withdrawal at work but to actually spend the money on heroin? Did you intend to plant that ax in the head of your wife who just told you she’s filing for divorce?

If you’re Hillary Clinton, or the FBI, or Donald Trump, however, James Comey, or Michael Horowitz, or [insert random Republican flack’s name here] will confidently assert that you only can only be demonstrated to have had “criminal intent” if you are proven to have laughed maniacally and yelled “yes, yes, I intend to do this because it violates [insert applicable US Code section here]! Wheeeeeeee! I am acting criminally, hahahahahaha!” as you committed the act which constituted the crime.

I call this the Steve Martin defense:

Imported from the original KN@PPSTER