White House senior adviser Jared Kushner has reportedly conducted government-related business while using a private email account. According to the explosive report on Sunday by Politico, Kushner’s private email was set up during the presidential transition―after his father-in-law, Donald Trump, won the 2016 election―and he’s reportedly been using it since. Politico reported other unnamed administration officials have also used private email accounts while working for the government.
The report specifies that Kushner has not solely used his private account and that he has used his official government account for White House business, as well. Politico claims it’s reviewed two dozen emails sent from his personal account.
In the context of last year’s presidential race, this is a major story. Throughout the 2016 election, then-candidate Trump spent months condemning and castigating Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state, insisting it showed she was too reckless and untrustworthy to serve as president.
“Kushner’s representatives declined to detail the server or security measures.” https://t.co/ltz9MpmMkp— Scott Bixby (@scottbix) September 24, 2017
Ever since winning the election and entering office, however, the people around Trump have reportedly engaged in similar behavior. It was reported in January that at least four senior Trump staffers―Kushner, Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, and Sean Spicer―still possessed private email accounts through the Republican National Committee.
This new story, however, is different. Politico is not reporting that Kushner is using a private RNC account but rather private email on his own private server. This is essentially exactly what Clinton did while serving as secretary of state, and although it’s not his official job, Kushner has been characterized as a sort of shadow secretary of state within the Trump administration.
Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, sent Politico a statement about the private email, downplaying the significance of the story. Specifically, Lowell claimed Kushner typically has used the private email to forward along pieces of news or political commentary, has sent and received fewer than 100 messages through it since January, and has used his official White House email for any government business.
“Mr. Kushner uses his White House email address to conduct White House business. Fewer than 100 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.”
Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump, reportedly has a private email account on the same server, although Politico didn’t get a look at any of her messages, and there’s no evidence she’s used it for White House business. When Clinton’s private email server became a matter of public knowledge back in 2015, it dominated both headlines and Republican-led committee hearings.
This report only adds to the pile of mounting concerns for Kushner. He’s also reportedly under scrutiny in independent counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether any members of the Trump campaign aided or colluded in those efforts.