White House probing private email use by Kushner, others — report
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White House probing private email use by Kushner, others — report

Legal staff combing through emails on private server which could pertain to investigation into Russian meddling, according to Politico

US President Donald Trump sits alongside US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, middle, and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, left, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, September 26, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB)
US President Donald Trump sits alongside US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, middle, and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner, left, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, September 26, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB)

WASHINGTON — The White House has launched an internal probe of the use of private email for official business by senior aides to President Donald Trump, including son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump, news outlet Politico reported Thursday.

The administration is scouring the White House server for emails to and from private email accounts of these aides, Politico said, quoting four people familiar with the probe.

Politico said at least five current and former White House officials used private email to conduct government business:  Kushner and Ivanka, both senior advisers, economic adviser Gary Cohn, former strategic adviser Steve Bannon and former chief of staff Reince Priebus.

Politico said the probe began this week after it reported private email use by Kushner.

The internal probe could take weeks or even months, it said.

Trump’s White House legal staff is reviewing the accounts to see if any of the messages sent relate to the Russia probes being carried out by two congressional panels and special counsel Robert Mueller, Politico quoted one of its sources as saying.

As a candidate, Trump routinely attacked his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, telling supporters “she has to go to jail” over the affair.

Protestors hold signs outside of a campaign rally for Hillary Clinton at Harrell College on May 25, 2016 in Riverside, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP)

Politico reported Monday that Kushner used a personal account to send messages to senior White House officials and outside advisers about media coverage, planning events, and other issues.

Kushner’s lawyer Abe Lowell said earlier this week that fewer than 100 emails went through the private address and they were all forwarded to his official account, where they were preserved.

“These [were] usually forwarded news articles or political commentary and most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange by sending an email to his personal, rather than his White House, address,” Lowell said in an email.

Even if the emails did not contain highly sensitive information or were classified, they could still fall foul of the Presidential Records Act, which requires all documents related to the president’s personal and political activities to be archived.

Kushner’s numerous responsibilities within the Trump administration include trying to broker peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In addition to the email controversy, Kushner is facing scrutiny over the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia to interfere in the 2016 US election, which is the subject of the probes in Congress and by Mueller.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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