Of course Ivanka Trump says her emails are no big deal.
The first daughter raised eyebrows last week when the Washington Post reported that she used a personal email account to communicate about government business last year. But in an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America aired on Wednesday, Trump said there was “no equivalency” between her actions and Hillary Clinton, who as secretary of state used a private email server. She said the “lock her up” chants President Donald Trump and his supporters often employ regarding Clinton’s emails does not apply to her.
Here’s what Trump said when ABC’s Deborah Roberts asked her about her email use and comparisons to Clinton:
There really is no equivalency. All of my emails that relate to any form of government work, which was mainly scheduling and logistics and managing the fact that I have a home life and a work life, are all part of the public record. They’re all stored on the White House system. So everything’s been preserved, everything’s been archived, there just is no equivalency between the two things.
When Roberts pushed back, saying that some people see her actions and Clinton’s as the same, the president’s eldest daughter was emphatic that they are not.
.@IvankaTrump to @GMA on use of private email for govt biz & comparisons to Hillary: “There is no equivalency… The fact is we all have private emails and personal emails to coordinate with our families.”
Goes on to say her dad’s concept of “lock her up” doesn’t apply to her. pic.twitter.com/sHxo2LoxiN
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 28, 2018
“The fact is that we all have private emails and personal emails to coordinate with our family, we all receive content to those emails, and there’s no prohibition from using private email as long as it’s archived and as long as there’s nothing in it that’s classified,” Trump said.
Ivanka Trump also took some indirect hits at Clinton, saying that she had no “intent to circumvent” the White House email system and that she didn’t engage in “mass deletions” after a subpoena was issued.
As PolitiFact explains, an employee in 2015 deleted 33,000 of Clinton’s emails a few weeks after the Benghazi committee issued a subpoena requesting her emails related to the 2012 attack in Libya, after realizing he had been requested to do so in 2014 and didn’t. The FBI found no evidence that the emails were deliberately deleted to circumvent the subpoena.
“So the idea of ‘lock her up’ doesn’t apply to you?” Roberts asked.
“No,” Trump said, laughing.
House Democrats have signaled they plan to investigate Trump’s email use when they take over the majority in Congress next year. As the New York Times notes, members of Congress last year engaged in a bipartisan inquiry into the use of private email by multiple White House officials, including Ivanka Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner. But they didn’t get very far.
Ivanka’s emails are probably no big deal. But then the question is, were Hillary Clinton’s?
Clinton’s email use was a huge point of focus during the 2016 election.
Even after then-FBI Director James Comey in July 2016 said there would be no charges brought against Clinton over her use of a private email server as secretary of state (though he did call it “extremely careless”), the matter often dominated the news cycle. Trump and his allies invoked it on the campaign trail, and, even after the election, it continues to be a major point on Fox News.
One study earlier this year focusing on the Times’s election coverage found that in the span of just six days during the final leg of the 2016 campaign, the Times ran as many cover stories about Clinton’s emails they did about all policy issues combined in the 69 days leading up to the election.
Vox’s Matt Yglesias in 2016, just ahead of the election, wrote that the Clinton email scandal was a “bullshit story” that had dominated the campaign, including when, in the final days of the campaign, Comey said he would reopen, and then again closed, the email probe:
This is unfortunate because emailgate, like so many Clinton pseudo-scandals before it, is bullshit. The real scandal here is the way a story that was at best of modest significance came to dominate the US presidential election — overwhelming stories of much more importance, giving the American people a completely skewed impression of one of the two nominees, and creating space for the FBI to intervene in the election in favor of its apparently preferred candidate in a dangerous way.
Ivanka Trump might very well be right that we shouldn’t make too much out of her emails. Maybe we shouldn’t have made too much of Clinton’s, either.