Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, on Monday downplayed the controversy surrounding Ivanka Trump’s use of private email for government business, claiming “it’s awfully tough” for some officials to follow federal communications rules.
“Certainly, when things like this come up, it’s important people understand they need to make sure that they’re doing what they can,” Goodlatte said during an interview with CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.”
“It’s awfully tough, as everyone knows, when you’re sending emails about a lot of different things to make sure that you’re doing it according to the rules in the White House or wherever you’re doing it,” he added.
Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter and a senior White House adviser, used a personal account to send hundreds of emails last year to White House aides, Cabinet officials and her assistants, The Washington Post reported last week. Many of the emails were sent in violation of federal records rules.
The report casts the president in a hypocritical light, as he made 2016 Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton’s misuse of a private email server a constant line of attack. Trump supporters still regularly chant “Lock her up!” at rallies ― a call to send Clinton to prison over her emails.
The president has denied that his daughter violated federal records rules.
Goodlatte on Monday said he supported calls from his fellow House Judiciary Committee members to look into Ivanka Trump’s email use, but said the matter was “very different” from the Clinton controversy.
“Certainly, to be consistent, they need to inquire about what occurred there. I have no problem with that,” Goodlatte said. “I do think, of course, it’s very different to send private emails about matters that are not classified information.”
“There’s a criminal penalty imposed for doing that when you have classified information that is transmitted improperly, as was the allegation ― and I think the facts now support ― with regard to Hillary Clinton,” he added.
Goodlatte issued subpoenas last week to former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch to testify before a closed-door session of the House Judiciary Committee as part of the panel’s review of how the FBI handled the Clinton email investigation.