In Depth

Ivanka Trump vs. Hillary Clinton: email blunders compared

President Trump’s daughter accused of hypocrisy as it emerges she also used personal email for government business

Ivanka Trump used a personal email account to send “hundreds of messages” about official White House business last year, according to US media reports.

President Donald Trump’s daughter, an official White House adviser, used her personal account to email aides, cabinet members and assistants, says The Washington Post.

This would amount to a violation of the public records rules, yet when asked about it, Ivanka reportedly said that she was “unfamiliar” with details of the regulations.

The president and his family have been accused of hypocrisy, having repeatedly branded former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton “crooked” for her use of a private email server, reports The Guardian.

But are the two allegations the same?

What did Ivanka do?

Anonymous White House sources told The Washington Post that during a recent public records lawsuit, ethics officials discovered she had often used her private email account to contact senior officials and White House aides in 2017, on a domain that she shares with her husband, fellow adviser Jared Kushner.

A spokesperson for her lawyer confirmed that “while transitioning into government... Ms Trump sometimes used her private account, almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family”. The representative insisted that “no classified information was transmitted in the messages”.

However, this claim was disputed by the ethics officials. They found that Ivanka had “discussed or relayed official White House business” using the private email account, which may be a direct violation of the Presidential Records Act.

This law requires that all official White House communications and records be preserved as a permanent archive of each administration. “Government officials must forward any official correspondence to a work account within 20 days,” explains the BBC.

Furthermore, her close relationship with Kushner, an important international negotiator in the Trump administration, means that she may be party to classified information, says CNN.

How is this different to the Clinton email saga?

Ivanka’s behaviour has “alarmed” some of President Trump’s inner circle, who fear her practices “bore similarities” to the Clinton scandal, the Post reports.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly attacked his Democratic rival for using a private email account for government business when she was US secretary of state.

However, the BBC notes that Clinton not only used a private account but also set up a separate email server at her home in Chappaqua, New York, that she used “for all work and personal emails during her four years in office”.

“She did not use, or even activate, a state.gov email account, which would have been hosted on servers owned and managed by the US government,” the broadcaster adds.

Clinton also claimed she was unaware of or misunderstood the rules.

She later said that none of the messages she sent or received using the server were “marked classified” - a claim that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) determined to be untrue. In fact, 110 of the emails contained classified information at the time they were sent or received.

The controversial FBI investigation into her emails launched by James Comey just days before voters went to the polls in 2016 “probably cost Hillary Clinton the election”, says The Guardian’s US columnist Jill Abramson.

The investigation concluded that Clinton should not face charges, but said that she and her aides had been “extremely careless” in their handling of classified information.

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