Republicans who lambasted former Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server are fighting a hard battle to contain the recent accusation leveled on President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner and other white House staff over the use of private email for official business.
In slamming her then-accusers, Clinton has leveled charges of hypocrisy against the GOP and President Trump, who labeled her “Crooked Hillary” on the campaign trail as the FBI investigated her email setup.
In the same vein, Congressional Democrats including Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, have called for an investigation asking Kushner for information on his nongovernment accounts and private family domain. Cummings also demanded that Kushner preserve all official records in his possession.
Though, there are differences between what Clinton did, and what Kushner and other White House staff including erstwhile White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and former chief of staff Reince Priebus are accused to have done, the striking similarities can not be overlooked.
“This will cause Democrats to howl … given how much Republicans pushed this issue, with good reason,” said Doug Heye, a former RNC communications director.
In addition, Oversight Chairman (R-S.C.) joined with Cummings in sending a letter to White House counsel Don McGahn late Monday asking for a list of non-career officials at the White House who have used personal email to conduct official business and highlighted the need for the staff to comply with federal records law.
Heye however said he doubted there would be hugely negative political repercussions for congressional Republicans. He said: “Questions surrounding administration staff just do not become voting issues in congressional races. If it turns out to directly involve Trump, that could be a different issue. Those who chanted ‘lock her up’ may care the least.”
Another former GOP operative said if the GOP does not take any action against the emails from Kushner and other White House staff, it will just be another example of their hesitancy to criticize Trump.
“I don’t think Republicans can look any more hypocritical than they already have, so I don’t think it really matters. Their entire caucus is a walking hypocritical mess”, the former aide said.