- White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump is under fire for sending hundreds of messages related to government affairs via a personal email account.
- National security experts and even former Trump administration officials have accused the White House of hypocrisy in relation to its focus on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
- There are similarities between the two controversies, but also some key differences.
White House senior advisor Ivanka Trump is under fire for sending hundreds of messages related to government affairs via a personal email account.
The White House is now facing accusations of hypocrisy in relation to President Donald Trump’s ongoing attempts to bring attention to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s controversial use of a private email server.
— New Day (@NewDay) November 20, 2018
There are similarities between the two controversies, but also some key differences.
Ivanka reportedly sent hundreds of messages – many of them in violation of federal records rules – from her private email address to numerous White House aides, Cabinet officials, and assistants. This was apparently discovered by White House ethics officials as they reviewed emails as part of a public records lawsuit, The Washington Post reported.
Ivanka was apparently not aware of the rules, despite the overwhelming focus during her father’s presidential campaign on such issues surrounding the controversial use of a private email server by Clinton.
The first daughter’s legal team told The Post she “sometimes used her personal account, almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family,” but maintained she never sent classified information.
Correspondingly, the major issue surrounding the Clinton controversy was the fact some of the emails she sent did contain classified info, sparking concerns about national security. With that said, the FBI performed a lengthy, careful probe of Clinton’s emails and determined that while her behaviour was careless it was not criminal.
Bradley P. Moss, a Washington, DC-based lawyer specializing in national security, said there are “obvious distinctions” between the “severity” of the two controversies.
“We know now how much classified information had spilled into the various emails sent and received by Hillary Clinton, and the risk to national security that existed as a result of that was not imaginary or overblown,” Moss told INSIDER. “It was a serious breach of protocol and anyone else would have had their security clearance revoked.”
But Moss added that we know all of this because there was an “an exhaustive two-year government investigation into the matter.”
“No such investigation has occurred yet with respect to Ivanka’s email practices, so we do not yet know just how reckless she was (or, conversely, was not) compared to Hillary Clinton,” Moss added.
As Moss noted, Clinton became Secretary of State in 2009, and was only the second person in that position to ever use email and the agency “had not yet really contemplated how to address the situation.” In this context, there are some reasons to give Clinton the benefit of the doubt in terms of her dubious email practices.
“Ivanka’s actions, particularly coming in the wake of a presidential election in which her father obsessed over Hillary’s email practices, were not merely hypocritical but bordered on inexcusable lack of awareness,” Moss said.
Between the “lock her up” chants and Trump’s desire to see Clinton prosecuted, Moss added that it’s “beyond absurd” for “Ivanka to arrive at the White House in that environment and claim with a straight face that she did not realise she could not rely exclusively on a private email account to conduct official business.”
There have already been bipartisan calls in Congress for the first daughter’s emails to be investigated. Congressional Democrats on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee plan to investigate private email use of Ivanka and other White House officials.