September 25, 2017

Calls for Investigation Into Jared Kushner’s Use of Private Email Server

Jared Kushner has reportedly communicated with other high-level administration officials using a private email account, potentially breaching the Presidential Records Act. (Photo: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr/cc)

President’s son-in-law and top advisor set up a private email server during the Trump campaign’s transition to power

By Julia Conley / 09.25.2017

Senior presidential advisor Jared Kushner is under new scrutiny following reports that he has used a private email account since his father-in-law, President Donald Trump, took office in January—the same thing Hillary Clinton was attacked for during the 2016 campaign.

According to a Politico report, Kushner set up a private email server during the Trump campaign’s transition to power, and he’s sent messages regarding Trump and the administration using his private email address. Former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Steve Bannon, and economic advisor Gary Cohn have all corresponded with Kushner via his private account.

The Presidental Records Act dictates that all emails and records related to the president’s activities be archived, and use of private email accounts runs the risk of disobeying that rule.

Kushner is not the first Trump advisor to come under scrutiny for his email habits. Aides have reportedly communicated using encryption apps including Signal and Confide—software favored by some journalists and their sources because they delete messages after they are read.

Kushner’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, defended his use of the private email server on Sunday. “Mr. Kushner uses his White House email address to conduct White House business,” he said. “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.”

“There is no indication that Kushner has shared any sensitive or classified material on his private account,” according to Politico. Still, critics expressed shock on Monday that a high-level member of the Trump administration has engaged in the same behavior that led to an FBI investigation of Clinton’s email server in the midst of her presidential campaign—particularly after Kushner has been embroiled in the ongoing inquiry into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia. Kushner denied colluding with Russia after his closed-door talks with the Senate Intelligence Committee in July regarding his meetings with Russian officials during the Trump team’s transition.

Trump critics and journalists spoke out about Kushner’s private email account on Twitter, and called on him to make the correspondence public as Hillary Clinton did during the campaign.