After Crusade Against Hillary Clinton Emails, GOP Silent On Trump Ripping Up Documents

Where are the "lock him up" chants?

A constant theme of the 2016 election was the Republican belief that Hillary Clinton was a criminal because she used a private email server for government business as secretary of state.

Lock her up!” and “Hillary for prison” chants and signs were mainstays at Donald Trump’s campaign rallies. Trump’s nickname for his Democratic opponent was “Crooked Hillary.”

Sure, there were other reasons that Republicans believed Clinton belonged in prison. But her emails were at the center of it all.

As secretary of state, Clinton set up a private email server for her government and personal business ― instead of having separate accounts. She said she did so because she didn’t want to have to carry around two mobile devices.

Clinton tried to separate, and hand over, the government emails for preservation, and she was hardly the first official to use a non-government account for personal business.

Yet the sloppiness and, in retrospect, horrible political decision, created an easy issue for Trump and Republicans to run against.

View of supporters with signs as they attend Donald Trump's campaign rally at the Loudoun Fairgrounds in Leesburg, Virginia, Nov. 7, 2016.
View of supporters with signs as they attend Donald Trump's campaign rally at the Loudoun Fairgrounds in Leesburg, Virginia, Nov. 7, 2016.
David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images

One of her most persistent critics was Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who used his powerful perch as chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to keep on the case of Clinton’s emails.

But on Tuesday, Johnson had no comment when HuffPost asked him about revelations that Trump literally ripped up government documents that he was supposed to preserve as president. He said he’d need to read up more on the issue.

The Presidential Records Act requires the White House to preserve documents related to a president’s official duties. Those materials should have been handed over to the National Archives when Trump left office.

But last month, the agency retrieved 15 boxes from his Mar-a-Lago residence, according to The Washington Post. Trump’s team continues to search for more documents.

Trump also frequently ripped up documents as president ― actions that could be criminal. Some of the records received by the National Archives had been torn and taped back together.

Republican senators were far less willing to go after Trump Tuesday than they had been against Clinton for her private email server.

“I know there are legal requirements, but I really don’t know enough to comment,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said.

Yet in 2015, Cornyn was very concerned about Clinton’s server, saying it “raises serious concerns for Americans who believe in open government and the accountability of our highest officials.”

“I can’t comment on that. I don’t know about that,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) similarly said Tuesday. He, too, was deeply concerned about the proper handling of government information when it came to Clinton.

Clinton herself weighed in on the issue this week, debuting a new mug.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said there should be "accountability" for what Trump has done.

"His treatment of public records, which belong to us, the taxpayers, is another sign of his total and utter contempt for the law and norms and proper conduct," he told HuffPost. "It must be that he has a lot to hide because he doesn't want anybody to see the records of what he's doing."

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