White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner has used both a private email account and an official email address to communicate with other government officials, according to his attorney. Responding to media reports about Kushner’s email habits, his lawyer said, “All non-personal emails were forwarded to his official address.”
The emails between Kushner’s personal account and his White House colleagues number fewer than 100, Kushner’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, said in a statement relayed by NPR’s Tamara Keith.
“Mr. Kushner uses his White House email address to conduct White House business,” Lowell said in the statement.
Emails have been a central theme for Kushner’s father-in-law, President Trump, who has repeatedly said that Democratic rival Hillary Clinton should face federal criminal charges over her use of private email while serving as secretary of State.
In the aftermath of the hotly contested 2016 presidential campaign, new emphasis has been placed on how officials handle email. Politico reported on Kushner’s use of a private web domain and email account Sunday, while also clarifying that there are no signs the presidential aide has used the account to handle classified or sensitive materials.
Clinton, too, has said she didn’t use her personal account to send or receive materials marked classified — but her routine use of the account for official business set off questions about documents that could potentially be retroactively declared secret, as well as concerns over how tens of thousands of emails and records from a private server might be properly archived in the government’s system.
In Kushner’s case, it appears he set up the email to handle unofficial communications. But the president’s son-in-law has come under scrutiny of his own, due to his official duties as well as his becoming a figure in the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election. Kushner said in July that he “did not collude” with any foreign government.
Politico reports that Kushner set up a private family domain as he and his family were moving into power in Washington, D.C. — similar to the timing of Clinton’s establishment of her private email address and server as she was joining President Obama’s administration.
In today’s always-connected political world, the use of private or personal email — and, increasingly, of phone texts — is a thorny and largely unresolved issue. While senior officials are often obligated to preserve their communications for record-keeping and other purposes, many have acknowledged finding ways to get around the system, from former Secretary of State Colin Powell to dozens of former staff member at the Department of Homeland Security, including its former leader, Jeh Johnson.
Here’s the full statement from Kushner’s attorney, Abbe Lowell:
“Mr. Kushner uses his White House email address to conduct White House business. Fewer than a hundred 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. These 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. All non-personal emails were forwarded to his official address and all have been preserved in any event.”