Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and a top White House adviser, sent hundreds of emails about government business from a personal email account last year, The Washington Post reported Monday.
The emails were sent to White House aides, Cabinet members and Ivanka Trump’s assistants, many in violation of public records rules, the paper said.
US President Donald Trump mercilessly criticized his 2016 Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, for using a private email server during her time as secretary of state, labeling her “Crooked Hillary” and saying she belonged in jail. Trump supporters still chant “Lock her up!” at rallies.
Sources with knowledge of the situation told the newspaper that Ivanka Trump said she was unaware of the rules governing the use of a private account. White House lawyers said she had not received updates reminding members of the administration that they cannot use personal email accounts for official business.
People familiar with the technical arrangements said that Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner set up an email system via the domain “ijkfamily.com” through a Microsoft system in December 2016, as they prepared for Kushner to take up a role at the White House as a top Middle East peace adviser.
The emails were then screened by the Trump Organization for possible security problems such as viruses.
Last year it was reported that Kushner had used a private email account to respond to emails from administration officials.
The White House did not immediately respond to questions about the email use, but a spokesman for Ivanka Trump’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, didn’t dispute the report.
“While transitioning into government… Ms. Trump sometimes used her private account, almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family,” said the spokesman, Peter Mirijanian.
Mirijanian stressed that no classified information was transmitted in the messages, that no emails were deleted and that the emails have since been “retained” in conformity with records laws.
“When concerns were raised in the press 14 months ago, Ms. Trump reviewed and verified her email use with White House Counsel and explained the issue to congressional leaders,” he said.
Trump was said to use her personal email for official business more frequently than anyone else in the administration.
“She was the worst offender in the White House,” a former senior US government official anonymously told the newspaper.
The discovery was prompted by public records requests from the liberal watchdog group American Oversight. The group’s executive director, Austin Evers, said in a statement that “The president’s family is not above the law,” and he called on Congress to investigate.
“For more than two years, President Trump and senior leaders in Congress have made it very clear that they view the use of personal email servers for government business to be a serious offense that demands investigation and even prosecution, and we expect the same standard will be applied in this case,” he said.
The emails the group uncovered include correspondence between Ivanka Trump and Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.