A powerful Republican congressman is defending Ivanka Trump's decision to send emails pertaining to government business through a private email account, even as he continues to criticize Hillary Clinton for doing likewise.
"When things like this come up, it’s important people understand, they need to make sure they’re doing what they can," Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., told CNN during an interview on Monday, according to Politico. He then added, "And it’s awfully tough, as everyone knows, when you’re sending emails about a lot of different things to make sure that you’re doing it according to the rules in the White House or wherever you’re doing it."
Despite his willingness to give Ivanka Trump a pass, the House Judiciary Committee chairman insisted that Hillary Clinton should still be held accountable for her own use of a private email account.
"I do think, of course, it’s very different to send private emails about matters that are not classified information. There’s a criminal penalty imposed for doing that — when you have classified information that is transmitted improperly, as was the allegation, and I think the facts now support, with regard to Hillary Clinton," Goodlatte told CNN.
President Donald Trump, who regularly blasted Clinton during the 2016 presidential election for her use of a private email account and led crowds in chants of "Lock her up!", insisted that the reports last week about Ivanka Trump doing something similar were fake news.
"Just so you understand, Ivanka Trump did some emails, they were not classified like Hillary Clinton. There was no deletion, no nothing. What it is, is a false story," Trump said last Tuesday.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, took a different approach on the matter last week, sending a letter to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly demanding information on Ivanka Trump's use of a personal email account when engaged in government business. Gowdy established Dec. 5 as a deadline for complying with his letter and explained that Ivanka Trump's use of a personal email account might "implicate the Presidential Records Act and other security and recordkeeping requirements."
Gowdy's letter also wrote that "in light of the importance and necessity of preserving the public record and doing so in a manner that is reflective of relevant statutory and regulatory requirements, the Committee must assess whether the White House took adequate steps to archive Ms. Trump’s emails and prevent a recurrence." He was supported by Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, R-Md., who wrote in his own letter that "we launched a bipartisan investigation last year into White House officials’ use of private email accounts for official business, but the White House never gave us the information we requested."