A report by the journalism company “Politico” that was recently published last September 24 claimed that Jared Kushner, President Trump’s Official Senior Adviser, and son-in-law, had used his personal email account to transact official White House business.
This email account was created during the transition period that occurred right after the 2016 elections.
Politico criticized this finding as being part of the current trend in Trump’s administration where government aides have been using their personal emails for official business.
Kushner has been using both his personal account and his official White House email account to exchange messages and interact with outside advisers, White House officials, event planners, and other individuals.
Politico claims to have verified the authenticity of about two dozen of these emails.
Some of the administration aides that have already exchanged messages with Kushner on his personal account include the following officials:
- Josh Raffel — White House spokesman;
- Gary Cohn — National Economic Council director;
- Steve Bannon — former Chief Strategist; and,
- Reince Priebus — former Chief of Staff.
During some cases, these administrative officers would initiate the conversation by sending their messages directly to Kushner’s personal email account.
At other times, even Bannon and Priebus would also use their own private emails to interact with Kushner and the other aides.
In response to these findings, Abbe Lowell, one of the representatives in Kushner’s legal team, mentioned:
“Mr. Kushner uses his White House email address to conduct White House business. Fewer than 100 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.”
Presidential Records Act
The PRA (Presidential Records Act of 1978) requires the preservation of all documents that are related to the political and personal activities of the president.
Private message traffic that is sent between personal email accounts rather than through its official government address could still be within the boundaries of the PRA’s requirements.
Lowell claims that Kushner complied with the PRA’s requirements by forwarding all the email conversation transcripts that he had to his account.
Also, President Trump himself is known not to use his own email but to rather have his email messages printed-out by his personal assistant and presented to him instead.
Private email accounts
Politico also claims that other White House officials are also using their own private email accounts to communicate with Kushner and other administrative aides.
The report claims that they have been using apps with encryption features, such as Signal and Confide, to automatically have their messages deleted.
This behavior prompted Sean Spicer, the former White House press secretary, to issue a warning to communication staff members that using those kinds of apps could potentially violate the PRA.
What are your thoughts about the news?
Do you think administrative aides should be allowed to use their personal email accounts to transact official business? What actions should the federal government take in response to this?
Do tell us your thoughts, experience, and feedback in the comment section below as we would love to hear from you.
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