White House launches official investigation into use of personal email accounts

Senate Intelligence Committee rebukes Kushner for omitting private account

The White House has undertaken an official internal investigation following revelations that top aides, including the President's son-in-law Jared Kushner, used personal email accounts to conduct official business.

White House officials, led by the White House counsel's office have begun looking at batches of emails stored on the White House server going to and from top advisors' private accounts, four officials familiar with the matter told Politico.

One of the sources, according to Politico, stated that the White House would be analysing the messages to determine if the undisclosed emails related to the investigations into the Trump campaign's alleged collusion with Russia, as well as any confidential government secrets.

To add further embarrassment, Kushner's lawyer Abbe Lowell accidentally forwarded an email from the chairs of the Senate Intelligence Committee to notorious email prankster Sinon_Reborn (recently revealed by Wired to be UK web designer James Linton), marking the second time that Lowell has been duped by Linton.

The email, sent from chairman Richard Burr and vice-chairman Mark R. Warner, sharply reminded Kushner that the Committee had requested him to retain and provide all relevant communications pertaining to the Russia investigation.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

"The Committee was concerned to learn of this additional email account from the news media, rather than from you, in your closed staff interview," the email read. "Please confirm that the document production that you made to the Committee... included the additional 'personal email account' described to the news media."

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters yesterday: "The White House has been clear and instructs all staff to fully comply with presidential records acts. All staff has been briefed on the need to preserve those records, and we'll continue to do so."

26/09/2017: Committee wants more evidence of White House private emails

Five high level White House aides have been accused of using private email accounts to conduct official government business, in addition to President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Key advisors including Stephen Miller and Gary D. Cohn have routed official communications through personal accounts, along with ex-chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist and ex-Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon and even Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump, according to anonymous officials speaking to The New York Times.

Advertisement - Article continues below

US officials are now demanding more information from White House counsel Donald McGahn, via a letter from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. McGahn has until 9 October to identify "any non-career official" who used a personal account for official White House business.

The news comes just days after Kushner's lawyer Abbe Lowell admitted that the President's son-in-law and close personal advisor used a privately-controlled email account to handle official communications.

This behaviour is not illegal, provided that the emails are forwarded to an official account for auditing and oversight purposes, which Lowell claims Kushner did. He also said that less than 100 emails were handled.

However, the revelations have drawn accusations of hypocrisy from many pundits. Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server was one of Trump's main points of attack during the presidential election campaign, with Trump stating that it was evidence of corruption on the part of his opponent. Clinton and her allies pointed to then-FBI director Jasmes Comey's decision to re-open the investigation into Clinton's emails on the eve of the election as one of the main reasons she lost.

One of Trump's most popular campaign slogans was "lock her up", and the president repeatedly pledged to do everything in his power to get his political rival thrown in jail for the same thing that his son-in-law and close political advisor has now admitted to, before walking back from those promises once elected.

Advertisement - Article continues below

IT Pro has contacted the president for comment. We will update when we receive a response.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Picture: Bigstock

Featured Resources

Digitally perfecting the supply chain

How new technologies are being leveraged to transform the manufacturing supply chain

Download now

Three keys to maximise application migration and modernisation success

Harness the benefits that modernised applications can offer

Download now

Your enterprise cloud solutions guide

Infrastructure designed to meet your company's IT needs for next-generation cloud applications

Download now

The 3 approaches of Breach and Attack Simulation technologies

A guide to the nuances of BAS, helping you stay one step ahead of cyber criminals

Download now


internet security

Avast and AVG extensions pulled from Chrome

19 Dec 2019

What is PGP?

13 Dec 2019

Google confirms Android cameras can be hijacked to spy on you

20 Nov 2019
email providers

How do I switch back to Hotmail?

24 Jun 2019

Most Popular

mergers and acquisitions

Xerox to nominate directors to HP's board – reports

22 Jan 2020
operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems - and how to fix them

13 Jan 2020
public sector

UK gov launches £300,000 SEN EdTech initiative

22 Jan 2020
web browser

What is HTTP error 503 and how do you fix it?

7 Jan 2020