The White House press secretary on Monday brushed aside reports that members of the Trump administration had used private email accounts to conduct government business, saying personal email use was “very limited” overall.
“White House Counsel [Don McGahn] has instructed all White House staff to use their government email for official business and only use that email,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters at the press briefing, adding that staffers receive reminders on this topic “pretty regularly.”
Politico reported Sunday that President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, had used a private account to correspond with several other senior White House officials about media coverage, event planning, and other government business. Recently departed chief strategist Steve Bannon and chief of staff Reince Priebus used their own private email accounts to exchange messages with Kushner and others, according to Politico.
That report was followed up by a Monday item in Newsweek on Trump’s daughter Ivanka using a personal email address in February to ask Linda McMahon, head of the Small Business Administration, about “opportunities to collaborate” on issues related to “women’s entrepreneurship.” Now a White House adviser, Ivanka Trump was operating in an odd gray area at the time, sitting in on meetings with her father and government officials while holding no official title.
The use of personal email accounts by Trump officials are drawing particular attention because the President turned Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state into a cornerstone of his 2016 campaign. Trump routinely said that Clinton should be jailed for using a personal email system to carry out her official duties.
A reporter asked Sanders if the White House would commit to releasing Kushner’s emails to the public.
She said that she was “not aware” of any plans to do so but would keep the press updated.