The White House has launched an internal review of White House officials’ use of private email accounts, a person familiar with the probe told CNN.
The review led by the White House Counsel’s Office comes less than a week after an attorney for Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law and senior adviser, confirmed that Kushner occasionally used his private email account in his dealings with other White House officials.
At least three other current and former White House officials, including President Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and former chief strategist Steve Bannon also used private email accounts to conduct government business, CNN previously reported.
The Senate intelligence committee on Thursday sent a letter to Kushner probing his use of private email, which he had not previously disclosed to the panel.
Politico first reported Thursday night that the White House was investigating officials’ use of private email to conduct official White House business.
The White House Counsel’s Office inquiry is expected to focus on potential violations of the Presidential Records Act, a federal law that requires the president and White House staff preserve all official records. The counsel’s office has access to emails White House officials have sent and received on the White House’s internal server, but do not have access to officials’ private accounts beyond emails that were forwarded onto the White House server.
“The White House has been clear and instructs all staff to fully comply with Presidential Records Act. All staff has been briefed on the need to preserve those records, and will continue to do so,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday.
White House officials are instructed to use their official email addresses for government business and to forward any emails on their private accounts to their White House addresses relating to their official duties.
The use of private email accounts by Trump administration officials drew cries of hypocrisy from the President’s critics due to his fervent criticism on the campaign trail of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account during her time in the Obama administration.
But while several of her emails were later deemed to contain classified or sensitive information, there is no indication as of now that Trump officials’ emails contained sensitive information.