I’m not someone who believes in going easy on any politician. They are all, supposedly, civil servants, and they should all be held accountable for the mistakes they make. When Hillary Clinton’s email scandal came about, I was not one of the people who believed it was a frivolous investigation or a distraction from real issues.
That being said, the attacks made on Clinton regarding the email scandal were not based in a real want for justice and accountability on her part. Rather, Republicans, particularly those who supported Donald Trump in the 2016 election, launched their criticisms in a way that is impossible to confuse for anything but hypocrisy.
When Republicans like former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Mike Pence, as Governor of Indiana, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were found to have used personal email servers for their government work, there was nary a word of uproar, especially during the 2016 election, when they were skewering Clinton for the same thing.
Even worse, it seems as if many individuals connected to Trump’s campaign and his current administration in office have or have been using personal email accounts for government business. When news first came out that Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s advisor and son-in-law, had used a non-government account to send and receive over 100 emails relating to his government work, other disclosures followed.
Stephen Bannon, Trump’s fiery former chief White House strategist, has also been discovered to have used a personal email account, as well as former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and other advisors like economic advisor Gary D. Cohn and policy advisor Stephen Miller.
Officials within the Trump administration have also acknowledged that Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, had been using a personal email account both when she was an unpaid advisor and then a formally-hired federal employee in the Trump administration, according to a report by Newsweek.
Given the above information, it seems as if the Trump administration and many Republicans in general are not particularly concerned with proper email etiquette for government officials, so long as it is not Hillary Clinton or any other opponent, for that matter, who is breaking the rules of conduct.
The hypocrisy, then, in this administration and in this political party is a foul kind of noncommitment to the rules that pessimists and cynicists nationwide have come to expect of this government: that the rules only matter when they don’t apply to you, and that politicians in power are above such rules completely.
We then have the Russia phenomenon. Surely, an administration that railed so fiercely against Clinton’s jeopardization of American safety and security interests would not have done the very same by potentially colluding with Russian politicians, or so one would think.
In a feat of bold hypocrisy greater than I could have imagined, several links to Russian officials in the government, or with connections to the Kremlin, have been confirmed on the part of key members in Trump’s presidency-turned-family-business.
Earlier this year, we saw a series of emails which were sent from Donald Trump Jr. during the 2016 election to Rob Goldstone, a British-born former tabloid reporter and entertainment publicist who had connections to Russian officials and celebrities.
In the emails, it was spelled out quite explicitly that the Crown Prosecutor of Russia was looking to work against Hillary Clinton, and that the Russian government was in support of Trump and his campaign for president. They arranged to make a meeting.
Donald Trump’s own son personally sent emails regarding a meeting with a foreign government, one that has been adversarial to the United States and its Democracy for decades. All the while, this same administration could not stop bringing up the Clinton email scandal, which, while I still believe to be a serious issue, is not quite as serious nor currently relevant as directly colluding with Russian officials to influence an election.
It doesn’t stop there, either. Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, has admitted that he had exchanged emails with George Papadopoulos about collusions with the Russian government. Papadopoulos has recently pleaded guilty to lying under oath during the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign regarding Russian ties to the administration. Even the only currently public guilty plea from the Mueller investigation hinges on suspicious emails.
This duplicity and deception on the part of the Trump administration shows quite clearly that they believe the rules don’t apply to them, even when they attempt to hold others accountable for those same rules. Perhaps if anything good will come of this corruption and scandal, it will be that the blatant hypocrisy of the current presidency will open many to the possibility of a radically new regime in which honesty and transparency will be paramount. It certainly is not at this point in time.