US President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, has broken her silence to defend the use of a private email account for White House business.
Two years after Hilary Clinton was condemned by Mr Trump for using a private email account during her time as secretary of state, Ms Trump claimed her own email use was completely justified.
Speaking to US broadcaster ABC on Thursday morning (Australian time), Ms Trump dismissed comparisons of her use of private email for government work to that of Ms Clinton, her father’s former Democratic rival.
Unlike in Ms Clinton’s case, Ms Trump claimed that all of her emails had been “stored and preserved”.
“There were no deletions. There is no attempt to hide … There’s no equivalency to what my father’s spoken about,” she said.
Her defence follows a call by Republican and Democratic lawmakers to have her email use investigated after reports last week that she used her personal account up to 100 times in 2017 to communicate with other Trump administration officials.
During the 2016 presidential election, Mr Trump vowed to investigate Ms Clinton’s use of a private server while she was a secretary of state.
During presidential rallies, Trump supporters would repeatedly chant “lock her up”.
The New York Times reported last week that, once in office, Mr Trump wanted to order the US Department of Justice to prosecute her but was dissuaded by his White House lawyer.
When asked whether the idea of “Lock her up!” should apply to her, Ms Trump simply laughed and said “No”.
On the Clinton case, Ms Trump said: “There were mass deletions after a subpoena was issued. My emails have not been deleted. Nor was there anything of substance, nothing confidential that was within them. So there’s no connection between the two things.”
The use of a personal account for government business potentially violates a law requiring preservation of all presidential records.
It has also raised security concerns, particularly over classified or sensitive information and the possibility of hacking.
Ms Trump maintained that her email use violated no rules.
“There is no restriction of using personal email,” she said.
“In fact, we’re instructed that if we receive an email to our personal account that could relate to government work, you simply just forward it to your government account so it can be archived.”
The FBI investigated Ms Clinton but ultimately found that no criminal charges were warranted. The State Department also investigated and found that her actions had violated department rules.
Other government officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, when he was Indiana’s governor, and several past secretaries of state, have also been found to have used private email for government work.
House oversight committee chairman Trey Gowdy, a Republican, has asked the White House for information related to Ms Trump’s private email use, while the head of the Senate’s Homeland Security committee, Republican Ron Johnson, sought a briefing on the topic.
Representatives for US Representative Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House oversight committee who is poised to lead the panel in January, said he will continue the investigation.