Do. Not. Use. Your. Account.
If you work in the government, DO NOT USE YOUR PRIVATE EMAIL ACCOUNT TO CONDUCT ANY BUSINESS. Why is this so hard to grasp?!
After spending years of griping at failed Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for using a private email server and account for business as secretary of state, we have now learned that President Donald Trump’s senior advisor (and son-in-law) Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have used a private email account to conduct official White House business.
Politico reported that the publication “has seen and verified about two dozen emails.” That’s one too many. Four people close to the situation told Politico that “Kushner uses his private account alongside his official White House email account, sometimes trading emails with senior White House officials, outside advisers and others about media coverage, event planning and other subjects.” His lawyer Abbe Lowell said:
“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,” Lowell said.
“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,” Lowell added. “All non-personal emails were forwarded to his official address and all have been preserved in any event.”
Former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Steve Bannon, National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, and spokesman Josh Raffel have sent emails to Kushner’s private account. Some of them even started email chains to the account. The discovery also showed that Priebus and Bannon used their own email accounts.
As of now, no one knows if “Kushner has shared any sensitive or classified material on his private account, or that he relies on his private account more than his official White House account to conduct government business.” Those close to him insist Kushner “prefers to call or text over using email.”
Watchdog group received documents through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that shows she used her private account to email Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Linda McMahon. However, this a push since the exchange occurred in February, a month before Ivanka became an official employee. From The Hill:
Ivanka Trump wrote that she wanted to “explore opportunities to collaborate” with McMahon’s department on “women’s entrepreneurship,” according to the emails released under FOIA.
“Dina [Powell, the White House deputy national security director] and I are very excited about your focus on women’s entrepreneurship and would love to assist you in any way we can,” Ivanka Trump wrote.
The documents show Ivanka Trump exchanged the emails with McMahon about a month before she became an official government employee, though she had been involved with high-level meetings within the administration. However, Ivanka Trump copied her chief of staff, Julie Radford, on the emails. In them, Radford has a White House email account.
“Ivanka Trump was not a federal employee in February. She elected to become a federal employee in March. At the time she did so, she made clear that one of her reasons for doing so was to ensure that she would have access to government-issued communications devices and receive an official email account to protect government records,” said a White House spokesman. “Prior to obtaining an official account, Ivanka’s communication to Administrator McMahon’s official account ensured the records were preserved and available under the Federal Records Act.”
Politico reported that Kushner and Ivanka Trump set up their family domain in late 2016 before they moved to Washington.
Byron Tau at The Wall Street Journal pointed out on Twitter that the Hillary fiasco and the Kushner news has similarities, but there are differences. First off, investigators found classified information on her private server and she deleted numerous emails.
However, he suspects “some oversight body will want to know if anything classified was on Kushner account or whether he destroyed material.”
And honestly, after the Hillary email scandal, can you blame them? I can’t. DON’T USE YOUR PRIVATE EMAIL ACCOUNT.
Politico explained why this could be a problem:
Private email traffic among White House aides — some of it sent between personal email accounts rather than to or from government addresses — could skirt the requirements of the Presidential Records Act, which requires all documents related to the president’s personal and political activities to be archived. Trump himself is not known to use email but occasionally has email messages to his assistant printed and presented to him.
Lowell said Kushner has adhered to government record-keeping requirements by forwarding all the emails to his account, though POLITICO could not verify that.
Other White House officials have also sometimes used personal accounts to correspond with Kushner and with each other, according to emails seen by POLITICO and people familiar with Kushner’s correspondence. They have also used encrypted apps like Signal and Confide that automatically delete messages, prompting former press secretary Sean Spicer in February to issue a warning to communications staffers that using such apps could violate the Presidential Records Act.
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