WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump defended his daughter Ivanka's use of a personal email account for government business Tuesday as newly empowered House Democrats vowed to investigate whether she violated federal law.
Trump dismissed comparisons of his daughter to Hillary Clinton, whom he criticized throughout the 2016 presidential campaign for use of a personal email server for her work as secretary of state in former President Barack Obama's administration.
"They weren't classified like Hillary Clinton. They weren't deleted like Hillary Clinton, who deleted 33,000. She wasn't doing anything to hide her emails. I looked at it just very briefly today and the presidential records -- they're all in presidential records. There was no hiding," Trump told reporters at the White House as he departed for Florida.
"There was no server in the basement like Hillary Clinton had," he continued, "you were talking about a whole different, you're talking about fake news. So what Ivanka did, it's all in the presidential records. Everything is there."
Questioned on whether he would allow congressional Democrats to interview her, Trump answered: "Ivanka can take care of herself."
Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of emails last year to White House aides, Cabinet officials and her assistants using a personal account, many of them in violation of federal records rules, according to people familiar with a White House examination of her correspondence.
She first used her personal email to contact Cabinet officials in early 2017, before she joined the White House as an unpaid senior adviser, according to emails obtained by American Oversight and first reported by Newsweek.
When she joined the White House, Trump pledged to comply "with all ethics rules." But she continued to occasionally use her personal email in her official capacity, people familiar with an administration review of her email use said.
In a statement Tuesday, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who is poised to lead the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said the panel launched a bipartisan investigation last year into White House officials' use of personal email accounts, but the White House did not provide the requested information.
"We need those documents to ensure that Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and other officials are complying with federal records laws and there is a complete record of the activities of this administration," Cummings said.
In what appeared to be an acknowledgment of the risk of backlash against Democrats for aggressively probing the Trump administration, Cummings also emphasized that his focus upon becoming chairman of the committee will be to address the everyday issues affecting Americans.
"My goal is to prevent this from happening again -- not to turn this into a spectacle the way Republicans went after Hillary Clinton," he said.
House Republicans created a special committee to investigate the deadly 2012 attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, and it was that panel that uncovered Clinton's use of a personal email server for government business.
Republicans excoriated Clinton during her 2016 bid for president, prompting an FBI investigation that found that she had been "extremely careless" but that there was no intention to violate laws on handling classified information.
A Section on 11/21/2018
Print Headline: President defends daughter's emails