Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a White House senior adviser, has used his personal email account to conduct official government business, his lawyer acknowledged Sunday.
The lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said that Kushner, using the personal account, had received or sent “fewer than a hundred emails” involving his White House colleagues during the first seven months of the administration. Lowell said the emails were all forwarded to Kushner’s official account, creating a record.
The use of the personal account was first reported by Politico.
Kushner is not the only official in the Trump White House who has been found to have used private email or text messaging for government business, a situation that has raised questions about the administration’s preservation of records. But Kushner is the person closest to the president to have his personal email use become public.
As a candidate, Trump aggressively attacked Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, for her use of private email while she was secretary of state. Some of Trump’s allies outside the White House are urging him to press for a prosecution of Clinton, even though an FBI investigation into her handling of classified information has been closed. At Trump’s rallies, his supporters still break into cheers of “lock her up!”
In a statement, 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 Kushner to colleagues in the White House from his personal email account.”
He added: “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. All nonpersonal emails were forwarded to his official address and all have been preserved in any event.”
Two people who have exchanged emails with Kushner on his personal account said it was set up during the transition period, when he was stepping back from his real estate company and needed a new email address.
A government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about Kushner’s email habits, said that unlike in the Clinton case, Kushner had not set up a private server to house the personal email account. While Clinton used her personal account exclusively, the official said that Kushner does use his government account.
Federal rules require that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the government record.
Another person with knowledge of Kushner’s email use said that others in the administration, including Stephen K. Bannon, the former chief strategist, and Reince Priebus, the former White House chief of staff, had also used personal email accounts for what could qualify as government business. People close to both men have said such emails were not frequent.
But among West Wing officials, Kushner has received the most scrutiny over issues of transparency, in part because of omissions he made with reporters early in the administration and on a government form about his contacts with Russian officials during the transition.