Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) announced Tuesday that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee plans to get to the bottom of White House adviser Ivanka Trump’s alleged use of a personal email address for government business, a likely violation of the Presidential and Federal Records Act.
Sources told The Washington Post that Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter of President Donald Trump, sent hundreds of messages related to official business from a personal email account. The accusation is remarkable considering her father has extensively demonized his former opponent Hillary Clinton for a very similar blunder: using a private email server to conduct government business.
Cummings is expected to be chairman of the oversight committee when his party takes the reins in the House next year.
In a statement, he explained how the committee had attempted a bipartisan investigation into several White House officials’ use of private email accounts for official purposes back in 2017. The White House, though, never handed over the information requested.
“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.
A Politico report last fall indicated that Kushner, Ivanka Trump’s husband and a fellow White House adviser, was also using a private email account. But one source, identified only as a former senior government official, told The Washington Post that Ivanka Trump is actually “the worst offender in the White House.”
The Presidential and Federal Records Act ensures all official White House communications are preserved in the historical record. A private server or email address also creates security concerns ― sensitive information may be more easily accessible to third parties.
Cummings said his goal is to “prevent this from happening again ― not to turn this into a spectacle the way Republicans went after Hillary Clinton.”
“My main priority as Chairman will be to focus on the issues that impact Americans in their everyday lives,” he added.
President Trump infamously coined a derogatory nickname for Clinton over the email server issue, calling her “Crooked Hillary” and encouraging supporters to chant, “Lock her up!” at his rallies. Trump supporters also took to depicting Clinton in an orange prison jumpsuit on (and off) social media.
Yet the emails are just one problem for the White House. Cummings has a wide array of controversial White House actions to choose from as he decides which ones are worth his committee’s time.