White House Skirts Bipartisan Request For Information On Personal Email Use

White House legislative director Marc Short talks to the media about the GOP Senate healthcare bill during the daily press briefing at the White House, Wednesday, July 19, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik/AP

White House legislative director Marc Short declined to tell House investigators whether some of President Donald Trump’s top aides used private emails for official business, despite multiple reports to the contrary, Politico reported Monday.

Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the chair and ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, respectively, sent a bipartisan letter to the White House in September requesting the names of aides who had used private emails accounts for White House business.

Cummings and Gowdy also asked for the “the individual, cellular number and account used” by any White House officials who communicated using “text-messages, phone-based message applications, or encryption software to conduct official business,” according to the letter obtained by Politico.

Short refused to even touch the issue of private email accounts. He said staffers “endeavor to comply with all relevant laws” and said the White House “consults” with the National Archives to make sure it is in compliance with the Presidential Records Act.

He repeated a previous claim that “no senior officials” have multiple emails accounts and said the White House hasn’t made any changes to how it’s required to archive presidential records since January.

“This administration is committed to the effective implementation of federal records preservation and public access laws. Thank you for your attention to this important matter,” Short wrote.

The response comes after multiple reports surfaced last month, alleging that White House adviser — and Trump’s son-in-law — Jared Kushner, former chief strategist Steve Bannon, economic adviser Gary Cohn and former Chief-of-Staff Reince Priebus all used private emails at least occasionally for official business.

Short also skirted the House investigators’ request for documents related to administration officials use of private jets for official travel, telling Cummings and Gowdy to redirect their requests to heads of each department instead of Chief-of-Staff John Kelly.

Read Short’s letter below:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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