Donald Trump has doubled down on his claim that his daughter Ivanka’s use of private email in her government role was “very innocent”. Speaking to reporters in Florida on Thursday, the president also employed his routine response to criticism, calling the controversy “fake news”.
The Washington Post reported on Monday that Ivanka Trump sent “hundreds” of emails from her personal account to cabinet officials and White House aides, as well as to personal assistants. As many as 100 such mails pertained to government business, the paper said. Scores more related to scheduling.
“Many” such exchanges could have been “in violation of federal records rules”, the paper said.
While the New York Times reported in September 2017 that at least six White House staffers including Ivanka had used private email accounts, the Post said its reporters were the first to reveal the extent of such use.
The report prompted widespread comment, given Trump’s longtime criticism of his 2016 election rival Hillary Clinton for using personal email for official business while secretary of state, attacks that traditionally bring forth chants of “Lock her up!” from the president’s supporters.
Asked by a reporter at Mar-a-Lago if he had spoken to his daughter about her email use, Trump said he had. His position, that she had done no wrong, was in keeping with his prior remarks on the issue.
Trump said Ivanka’s private email use had been “very innocent”, over a “short period of time, very early on”.
“There was no deletion of emails like the 33,000, plus probably another 100,000, that Hillary Clinton did after she got a subpoena,” he said.
The first figure mentioned by the president was a reference to the number of Clinton emails known to have been deleted, some of which were personal messages later recovered by the FBI. His second number was apparently not based on any reported fact.
“There was no anything, just innocent emails,” he continued, adding: “There were no classified emails. It’s another fake news story.”
“And she did transition out. Ultimately, she transitioned out from private [email] to government.”
Trump said he believed all his daughter’s email records were now with “the historical society” and insisted the situation was “much different than the other situation that I’ve talked about for a long time”.
White House ethics officials gathered Ivanka’s mails for an ongoing public records lawsuit, the Post explained in its bombshell report.
“That review revealed that throughout much of 2017, she often discussed or relayed official White House business using a private email account with a domain that she shares with her husband, Jared Kushner,” the newspaper noted.
The New York Times reported that Democrats are poised to investigate Ivanka’s email habits when they take over the House next year.
A spokesman for Ivanka’s private lawyer said in a statement “she did not create a private server in her house or office, there was never classified information transmitted, the account was never transferred or housed at Trump Organization, no emails were ever deleted and the emails have been retained in the official account in conformity with records preservation laws and rules”.
“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,” the spokesman, Peter Mirijanian, added.
Publication: The Guardian |Trump Insists Daughter Ivanka’s Private Email Use For Work Was ‘Very Innocent’