November 20, 2018 / 4:46 PM / a month ago

Democrats to investigate Ivanka Trump's private email use for work

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Congressional committee will investigate Ivanka Trump, U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter and a White House adviser, following reports she repeatedly used a personal email account for government work, a House Democrat said on Tuesday.

A White House review of Ivanka Trump’s email found she used her personal account up to 100 times last year to contact other Trump administration officials, the Washington Post reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the review.

Use of a personal account for government business potentially violates a law requiring preservation of all presidential records.

President Trump, a Republican, repeatedly criticized his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election campaign over her use of personal email and a private server while she was U.S. secretary of state.

Representatives for U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said the panel will investigate White House communications when Democrats take over the U.S. House of Representatives in January.

“We plan to continue our investigation of the presidential records act and federal records act, and we want to know if Ivanka complied with the law,” his office said in a statement.

The current House Oversight committee chairman, Republican Trey Gowdy, also asked the White House for information related to Ivanka Trump’s use of private email in a letter on Tuesday. Republican Senator Ron Johnson, chairman of the Senate’s Homeland Security committee, asked for a briefing on the topic.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment, but Trump said his daughter’s use of her personal email account was different from Clinton’s.

“For a little period of time, Ivanka did some emails. They weren’t classified like Hillary Clinton. They weren’t deleted like Hillary Clinton ... She wasn’t doing anything to hide her emails,” Trump told reporters. His daughter did not have a private server as Clinton did, Trump said.

Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Ivanka Trump’s ethics lawyer, Abbe Lowell, told the Post the emails occurred before she was aware of government record-keeping regulations.

Since then, she has turned over all her government-related emails to be stored with other White House records, the Post reported.

Ivanka Trump’s emails came to light when White House officials began reviewing them in response to a lawsuit from watchdog group American Oversight, according to the Post.

The New York Times also reported on Ivanka Trump’s email use.

Clinton’s email practices as secretary of state prompted a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe in the run-up to the 2016 election that still draws ire from Trump and calls from some of his supporters to “lock her up.”

The FBI concluded Clinton’s actions were extremely careless but did not recommend any charges be filed. Clinton expressed regret for her decision to use a private server but said she violated no rules.

FILE PHOTO: White House Senior Advisor Ivanka Trump speaks at the Concordia Summit in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat on the Senate Judiciary panel, said there was “no way” Ivanka Trump did not know the rules after the 2016 campaign. There were also larger questions about the Trump family’s mixing of private enterprise and government duties, Blumenthal said.

“It raises the issue of whether there has been anything improper. There should be some kind of investigation” either by Congress or the White House ethics office, Blumenthal told CNN.

The White House began reviewing senior aides’ email use last year after reports that Ivanka Trump’s husband Jared Kushner, also a top White House adviser, used private email for government work.

Reporting by Mike Stone and Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Bill Rigby, Grant McCool and Lisa Shumaker

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