The White House has launched an internal investigation into the use of private email servers by senior aides.
Staff are accused of pulling batches of emails on the White House server to and from their private accounts, Politico reported on Thursday.
Citing four unnamed officials, Politico said the effort began this week after it reported that President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, and other senior White House officials had used private email accounts to exchange messages for government business.
Citing four unnamed officials, Politico said the effort began this week after it reported that President Donald Trump ‘s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner (pictured today), and other senior White House officials had used private email accounts to exchange messages for government business
It comes after panel members charged Kushner with failing to tell Senate Intelligence Committee investigators about his private email account in an angry letter that only came to light because of a goof by Kushner’s high-powered lawyer.
‘The committee was concerned to learn of this additional email account from the news media, rather than from you, in your closed staff interview,’ committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr and Vice Chair Sen. John Warner wrote in their joint letter dated Thursday.
Kushner’s attorney accidentally forwarded the letter, marked ‘COMMITTEE SENSITIVE’ to the same person who had pranked him previously under a ruse where he posed as Kushner and sought advice about ‘adult’ emails located on his personal email account.
A U.S. House of Representatives committee asked the White House on Monday for information about the Politico report.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, asked if Trump was concerned about the reported use of private emails, told reporters earlier on Thursday, ‘The White House has been clear and instructs all staff to fully comply with the Presidential Records Act.
‘All staff has been briefed on the need to preserve those records, and will continue to do so.’
The letter mistakenly sent by Kushner lawyer Abbe Lowell was sent to an email prankster who apparently and inadvertently passed it to the email prankster who tricked him instead of to the real Jared Kushner.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders (pictured), asked if Trump was concerned about the reported use of private emails, told reporters earlier on Thursday: ‘The White House has been clear and instructs all staff to fully comply with the Presidential Records Act’
The prankster had originally tricked Lowell into an email exchange using the fake address email@example.com while pretending to need advice about ‘adult’ emails he had uncovered in his in-box.
The address apparently then ended up in Lowell’s auto-fill feature when he attempted to forward the email.
The prankster, who goes by @SINON_REBORN on Twitter, bragged about the feat online.
‘JARED KUSHNER’S LAWYER, ABBE, sent this to my FAKE JARED email address today!!!’ the prankster wrote, adding two emojis for emphasis.
It comes after panel members charged Kushner (center) with failing to tell Senate Intelligence Committee investigators about his private email account in an angry letter that only came to light because of a goof by Kushner’s high-powered lawyer Abbe Lowell (left)
The self-described prankster crowed about the feat, and tacked on two emojis for emphasis
Citing four unnamed officials, Politico said the investigation began this week after it reported that President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, and other senior White House officials had used private email accounts to exchange messages for government business
The letter from the committee asked that he preserve emails and respond in writing.
‘Please confirm that the document production that you made to the committee – and any and all document searches of email accounts for that document production included the additional ‘personal email account’ described to the news media, as well as all other email accounts, messaging apps, or similar communications channels you may have used, or that may contain information relevant to our inquiry, they wrote.
‘As you are aware, this committee has previously requested that you preserve and produce certain documents related to the Russian inquiry—including, but not limited to, email communications.’
The committee is probing Russian interference in the presidential election and Russian contacts with Trump officials, a group that includes Kushner.
Posing as Kushner, he wrote in an email that he had uncovered material of a ‘sensitive nature’ in his private account.
‘Namely: some exchanges with a website featuring adult content,’ he wrote.
‘Can I remove these?’ the prankster wanted to know.
He and Lowell then engaged in a brief email exchange.
During Trump’s 2016 election campaign, the Republican real estate developer attacked Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server for official correspondence when she was secretary of state under President Barack Obama.
Some of Clinton’s messages were later determined to contain classified information.
The prankster initially posted the exchange with Lowell on Twitter including references to made-up ‘adult’ content
The White House probe could take several weeks or even months to complete as officials are searching for all emails sent or received about government business, Politico reported.
‘The White House counsel’s office is reviewing the accounts to determine if the messages are germane to any investigations such as the ongoing Russia probes by Congress and special counsel Robert Mueller,’ Politico reported.
Mueller is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and possible collusion with Trump associates. Russia has denied any such efforts, and Trump has dismissed any talk of collusion.
Politico earlier reported that other senior Trump aides had also used private email accounts, including former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Steve Bannon and economic adviser Gary Cohn.
The New York Times reported on Monday that private accounts were also used by the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump after she became a White House adviser and by Stephen Miller, a senior Trump adviser.