By Adam Brownstein
Recently, political news site Politico reported that Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and current senior adviser, had used a private email account to correspond with other administration officials. Additionally, several former and current White House officials are also reported to have used private emails to conduct White House related business.
After Politico released the initial report, Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, released the following statement: “Mr. Kushner uses his White House email address to conduct White House business. Fewer than a hundred emails from January through August were either sent to or returned by Mr. Kushner to colleagues in the White House from his personal email account. These usually forwarded news articles or political commentary and most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange by sending an email to his personal, rather than his White House, address. All non-personal emails were forwarded to his official address and all have been preserved in any event.”
The Presidential Records Act, which was created in 1978 to add a sense of transparency as a means to give historians an inside look at how the White House is run within a respected administration, states that White House employees must preserve their emails so that they can be potentially published at the end of the President’s term in office. A 2014 amendment to this act added a provision that “prohibited employees from [using a privatized email] unless they copy their official [White House email] in the original creation or transmission of the record or forward a complete copy of the record to their official [email] within 20 days.”
If Kushner did forward those emails within 20 days and the emails were of “news articles [and] political commentary” Kushner, although acting irresponsibly, did not break any law and shouldn’t face repercussions. However, if parts of the report are wrong and Kushner did break any law or did anything illegal, he and others involved should be punished in accordance to the law.
Partially due to President Trump’s prior comments on Hillary Clinton’s private email scandal, Democrats have taken to social media and called hypocrisy on Kushner’s usage of a private email, with some stating they want Kushner to face charges. Although the comments on hypocrisy are valid, those who currently want Kushner to face charges yet defended Hillary all throughout her scandal, may be equally as hypocritical because based off the facts currently known, the argument can easily be made that Hillary’s email scandal is a lot worse.
Two wrongs don’t make a right, and as previously mentioned if Kushner did break the law he should face the proper punishments. The reason Hillary’s scandal was a lot worse can be summarized in a quote from the Washington Post, “[Hillary’s] private emails were problematic 1) because she set up her own server and used private email exclusively, and 2) because she was discussing potentially sensitive national security matters on that private server. That latter one was the big one — and the focus of the FBI investigation — because it meant classified information could potentially have been jeopardized.”
As of when the article was written, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), a ranking member of the same committee, called for the Trump Administration to disclose the names of any administration officials who used a private email address for government work. Additionally, Rep. Cummings gave a public request for the FBI to look into the matter, but the results of these requests are yet to be known.
Adam Brownstein is the vice president of the Hofstra Republicans
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