Nothing matters. It's important to remember that. If you were still under the blissful impression that people in American politics are largely acting in good faith, and are consistent in their beliefs, and have agreed on set standards for behavior in public life to which everyone will be held, your rose-tinted glasses need a new prescription. Because we've learned that yet another official in the administration of Donald Trump-a man whose most consistent campaign message was that his opponent should be thrown in prison for using a private email account to conduct government business-was using a private email account to conduct government business.
It just so happens, according to The Washington Post, to be his nepotism case of a daughter.
Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of emails last year to White House aides, Cabinet officials and her assistants using a personal account, many of them in violation of federal records rules...White House ethics officials learned of Trump’s repeated use of personal email when reviewing emails gathered last fall by five Cabinet agencies to respond to a public records lawsuit. That review revealed that throughout much of 2017, she often discussed or relayed official White House business using a private email account with a domain that she shares with her husband, Jared Kushner.
Does this seem unreal? Try her response when called on it.
Some aides were startled by the volume of Ivanka Trump’s personal emails - and taken aback by her response when questioned about the practice. She said she was not familiar with some details of the rules, according to people with knowledge of her reaction.
She's un-fucking-familiar? All we heard for a year and a half was that using private email in office was borderline treasonous. She went to her father's rallies. She was there at the Republican National Convention. There isn't a chance in hell she's unfamiliar with the perils of private email use. Dishonesty is in this family's blood. It's coursing through their veins. It's worth noting here that Ivanka is not just The First Daughter-she's a senior adviser to the president. She seems to assume whichever role is more convenient for each media report.
You can rest assured, though, that there will be no repercussions for this. Hypocrisy is dead. You can tell because Ivanka Trump is at least the seventh (7th) Trump administration official to get caught using private email for government business.
Members of the Trump administration who have used personal email to conduct official business:- Robert Reich (@RBReich) November 20, 2018
1) Ivanka Trump
2) Jared Kushner
3) Steve Bannon
4) Stephen Miller
5) Reince Priebus
6) Gary Cohn
The shameless hypocrisy of these people never ceases to amaze me.
Here's a secret: nobody ever cared about Hillary Clinton's email protocol. Nobody. It was an election stunt in the vein of The Ebola Panic (2014) and The Caravan (2018). It was pure rhetoric. The president doesn't use email because, like a huge swathe of our elected officials in this digital age, he has basically no computing knowledge. He does use a phone, though, which it turned out was unsecured and probably an easy target for Chinese government hackers. Trump was told of the vulnerabilities, but insisted on this setup because anything else would be too inconvenient-literally the exact excuse Hillary Clinton used.
Oh, you're a transparency buff, and your beef is that Clinton failed to turn over all her emails to be incorporated in government records?
Both [Ivanka] Trump and Clinton relied on their personal attorneys to review their private emails and determine which messages should be retained as government records.
All that Ivanka and Jared are missing is their own private server in a Chappaqua basement.
Again: none of these people actually care about email or security protocol. It's just a cudgel to be used against political opponents. These are the people who slammed Clinton's emails on the basis she mishandled classified information-an unsettled claim-and then made a mockery of the security-clearance system, shoveling classified information towards people who failed to clear FBI background checks. They don't care.
Still, the Ivanka case is worth lingering on. The New York Times hints at why:
Current and former White House officials have said it was characteristic of a repeated blurring of the lines between her government work and other aspects of her life, which used to include her namesake licensing and apparel businesses.
And here's where we really get into it. Like her father and everyone else who comes greasing into his orbit, Ivanka Trump has seen enormous personal financial benefits to serving in public office. This is not a debatable point, even after her fashion brand went under.
Ivanka made $3.9 million from the family's DC hotel in 2017 -- the hotel that is supposed to remit profits to the Treasury, hosts foreign diplomats, and which is the target of lawsuits alleging POTUS is violating emoluments provisions of the Constitution https://t.co/gR0sYIxpMH- Tim O'Brien (@TimOBrien) November 20, 2018
Remember when the president pretended to divest from his businesses, holding a press conference with a pile of Definitely Not Empty manila folders before passing control to his sons, who quickly admitted they'd be updating him regularly on how it was all going? Remember when his hotel became the shining beacon at the center of the new swamp, a place for foreign dignitaries to curry favor with the President of the United States by putting money in his pocket? And remember when Ivanka applied for a bunch of trademarks in China and was granted them shortly before her father embarked on a campaign to save a Chinese company? You might be a bit confused because Ivanka's company was also granted 16 new patents in China just this month.
It's not like all this isn't without consequences. Why, we are forced to ask, is Trump taking the word of Saudis in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, when the CIA found the hit order came from Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman? Is it because the Saudis are putting money in his pocket? What is Jared Kushner's relationship with the crown prince? What is informing the president's reliable friendliness towards Russia? Why, throughout all this, does he refuse to release his tax returns? What would they reveal? All of this is evidence of why conflicts-of-interest matter for public officials in a functioning democracy.
No, Ivanka Trump is merely another would-be American oligarch in her father's sordid orbit. It's now increasingly clear that when Donald Trump improbably won the presidency, a great many people took it as a green light to smash the glass and grab everything you can. That's how you get the various Cabinet officials who are tied to investment schemes and who stand accused of stealing more than $120 million from their business partners. It's how you get many of the same folks spending millions in taxpayer cash on private jet flights, and operating as an arm of the industries they're purportedly supposed to regulate. It's a Great American Heist, and everybody's trying to secure their share of the spoils. Will they make off with the American republic while they're at it?
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