A senior Democrat has called for an investigation of Ivanka Trump’s use of a personal email account for government business, an act that has been criticized as hypocritical by allies and foes of her father’s administration.
A White House review of Trump’s emails showed that she used her personal email to correspond with federal government staff, cabinet officials and her assistants throughout much of 2017. Ethics officials uncovered hundreds of emails sent by a domain Trump shares with her husband Jared Kushner, the Washington Post reported on Monday.
Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat member of the Senate judiciary committee, called on Tuesday for an investigation of Ivanka Trump’s email use, either by the office of government ethics or Congress.
“There’s no way that she had no knowledge of the rules,” Blumenthal told CNN.
“But really, there is a larger story here, which is the mixing of public and private, as with her clothing brand and her public position; the blending and mixing of emails on her private account or public account. And it raises the issue of whether there has been anything improper.”
Democrats will have control of the House oversight committee from January and have already indicated they will investigate Trump’s use of email.
“We plan to continue our investigation of the presidential records act and federal records act, and we want to know if Ivanka complied with the law,” the office of US Representative Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House oversight committee, said in a statement, adding that a panel probe of White House correspondence began last year but was dropped by Republicans who currently control the committee.
The controversy has immediately been likened to Donald Trump’s relentless attacks upon Hillary Clinton during the 2016 president campaign over Clinton’s use of a private email account. The issue prompted chants of “Lock her up!” at Trump rallies, which continued even after his election win.
Ivanka Trump’s lawyer has denied his client used her email for classified information but said she did use it for “logistics and scheduling concerning her family”. The use of personal email accounts risks violating the Presidential Records Act, which requires all official White House communications to be properly archived.
Anthony Scaramucci, who was briefly White House communications director in 2017, told CNN on Tuesday: “I certainly think it’s hypocritical. If Ivanka was interviewed about it she would have to say it was a mistake. There had to be a reason why she was doing it. I think it’s a serious matter, I don’t want to make light of it.”
Marc Short, a former adviser to Donald Trump, told the same network that Ivanka Trump’s email use is “hypocritical and certainly looks bad”.
Short added that there were “important distinctions” to be made with Clinton, who he said had a private email server in her home. An FBI investigation of the former secretary of state found no evidence she intended to skirt the law, although the then FBI director, James Comey, held a controversial press conference to call Clinton reckless with government secrets.
Philippe Reines, a Clinton campaign aide, tweeted: “John Kelly [White House chief of staff] must be compelled to explain to Congress why Ivanka & Jared’s security clearances were granted on a permanent basis despite their email practices being known at that time to the White House as running afoul of security requirements.”
Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard, added: “You can’t make this stuff up. Not after that gang did the ‘Lock Her Up!’ chant against Hillary for two solid years so Ivanka could become First Daughter. Above the law, just like daddy. Disgusting hardly says it.”