At least six of President Trump’s closest advisers sometimes used private email addresses to talk about White House matters, current and former officials said on Monday.
The disclosures came one day after news surfaced that Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, utilized a private email account to send or receive about 100 work-related emails in the administration’s first seven months. But Mr. Kushner wasn’t alone. Stephen K. Bannon, who is the former chief White House strategist, and Reince Priebus, who is the former chief of staff, also occasionally used private email addresses. Several other advisers, including Gary D. Cohn and Stephen Miller, sent or received at least a small number of emails on personal accounts, officials said.
Ivanka Trump, who is the president’s elder daughter and married to Mr. Kushner, used a private account when she was an unpaid adviser in the first months of the administration, Newsweek reported Monday. Administration officials admitted that she also occasionally did so when she was formally a White House adviser. The officials spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with reporters.
Officials are supposed to use government email accounts for their official duties so their conversations are available to the public and to those conducting oversight. But it is not against the law for White House officials to use private email accounts as long as they forward work-related messages to their work accounts so that they can be preserved.
During the 2016 presidential race, Mr. Trump repeatedly ranted and babbled about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private account as secretary of state, making it a key part of his campaign and using it to make her appear untrustworthy. “We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office,” Mr. Trump said last year. His campaign rallies repeatedly boiled over with chants of “Lock her up.”
Donald Trump and his cronies ran an entire campaign against Hillary Clinton for using private email accounts. The hypocrisy is unbelievable.
James Norton, who was a senior homeland security official during the George W. Bush administration, said that private accounts pose security risks; which is a criticism often raised against Mrs. Clinton.
“These private email accounts become targets of phishing attacks or other types of ways of collecting information,” he said. “It’s an issue not only for the person who owns that account, but the person who is receiving the emails. It is introducing risk into the system.”