House committee to resume probe into Ivanka Trump personal email use
The president’s daughter is said to have sent hundreds of emails about government business from a personal account last year.
New revelations about the extent of Ivanka Trump’s personal email use in the White House will be getting a hard look from House Democrats when they take power in January.
The House Oversight and Government Reform committee began looking into private email use last year after reports by Politico revealed Ms Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, and other White House officials had been using private email for government purposes in possible violation of the Presidential Records Act and other federal record-keeping laws.
Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the likely incoming chairman of the Oversight panel, said on Tuesday that he will resume that bipartisan investigation, which was dropped by Republicans.
He will pressure President Donald Trump’s administration to turn over records about the use of private email for public business by Ms Trump, Mr Kushner and other senior officials.
They aren't classified like Hillary Clinton. They weren't deleted like Hillary Clinton. What Ivanka did, it's all in the presidential records. Everything is there. Donald Trump
“My goal is to prevent this from happening again — not to turn this into a spectacle the way Republicans went after Hillary Clinton,” Mr Cummings said. “My main priority as chairman will be to focus on the issues that impact Americans in their everyday lives.”
The issue resurfaced this week when The Washington Post reported that the president’s daughter, while a top White House adviser, sent hundreds of emails about government business from a personal email account last year.
The emails were sent to White House aides, Cabinet members and Ms Trump’s assistants, many in violation of public records rules, according to The Post.
In comments to reporters, the president, who has spent years railing against Mrs Clinton’s use of private email for public business while secretary of state, sought to downplay — and differentiate — his daughter’s email use from his former opponent’s.
“They aren’t classified like Hillary Clinton. They weren’t deleted like Hillary Clinton,” Mr Trump said, adding: “What Ivanka did, it’s all in the presidential records. Everything is there.”
A spokesman for Ms Trump’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, did not dispute the Post report.
The spokesman, Peter Mirijanian, said no classified information was transmitted in the messages, no emails were deleted and the emails have since been “retained” in conformity with records laws.
He also said Ms Trump did not set up a private server for the account, which he said was “never transferred or housed at Trump Organisation”.
Mr Mirijanian said that while transitioning into the government, Ms Trump “sometimes used her private account, almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family”.
“When concerns were raised in the press 14 months ago, Ms Trump reviewed and verified her email use with White House Counsel and explained the issue to congressional leaders,” he said. He did not say which congressional leaders were briefed.
Republican representative Mark Meadows, of North Carolina, a fierce defender of the president as the leader of the House Freedom Caucus, also downplayed the matter.
“There are over 30,000 BleachBit reasons why the Hillary Clinton email scandal isn’t even close to the Ivanka email issue,” Mr Meadows tweeted, referring to a computer program used to delete emails from her server.
The House Oversight investigation into private email used by Trump White House officials was launched in early 2017.