The number of private email accounts being used by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump to field official White House business is up to three.
Politico is reporting on the discovery of a third private email account on the private domain, ijkfamily.com, where hundreds of emails were sent. The account is used by household staff, as well as both Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.
The emails—which include non-public travel documents, internal schedules and some official White House materials—were in many cases sent from Ivanka Trump, her assistant Bridges Lamar and others who work with the couple in the White House. The emails to the third account were largely sent from White House accounts but occasionally came from other private accounts, one of these people said.
The existence of additional accounts on the family domain beyond the two personal accounts used by Kushner and Ivanka Trump and reported earlier raises new questions about the extent of personal email use by the couple during their time as White House aides. Their use of private email accounts for White House business also raises concerns about the security of potentially sensitive government documents which have been forwarded to private accounts.
Back in January, the incoming Trump team were briefed on the potential security hazards of using private email to do company business. Kushner was a part of that briefing, but whatever was being discussed didn’t take, apparently.
Then again, the domain and the accounts was set up in December, as Trump’s team prepared to transition into the White House.
A White House spokesman said staff have been told to comply with the Presidential Records Act and “applicable guidelines for work-related communications.”
“In light of recent congressional inquiries, we have briefed staff on the need to preserve records and are working to ensure compliance,” the spokesman said.
Kushner’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, insists that Kushner has received less than 100 emails, previously, but that was before the discovery of this third email account.
The blurring of lines between personal and professional communications isn’t unique to the Kushners, but the use of personal email accounts creates a security risk, White House officials and experts say.
“Everyone uses private email, no one thinks about security, and that’s why it keeps happening,” said James A. Lewis, senior vice president and director of the Strategic Technologies Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Even if there’s not any classified information sent, that doesn’t mean the information wasn’t sensitive.”
In fact, the use of private email accounts isn’t illegal. It’s just really discouraged.
The accounts would have been more secure if they relied on commercial email providers rather than a private server, some experts say. “If you’re using a commercial email service provider, you’re really reducing the risk,” according to Lewis, because the major tech companies that run platforms like Gmail and Outlook typically have robust security teams. “If you’re doing your own email, it gets to be a lot easier [to hack],” he added.
Jared Kushner is currently under scrutiny in the Russia probe, for several missteps and meetings he’s had with Russian-affiliated players, most he’s neglected to disclose, just like the fact that he’s been using a private email account to do some White House business.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chair Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), and ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) sent a letter to White House counsel last week requesting more information about the use of private email addresses by White House staff.
“With numerous public revelations of senior executive branch employees deliberately trying to
circumvent these laws by using personal, private, or alias email addresses to conduct official
government business, the Committee has aimed to use its oversight and investigative resources
to prevent and deter misuse of private forms of written communication,” the pair wrote.
Kushner definitely acts like a man trying to slip around the rules, whether he actually is, or not. After Hillary Clinton’s email debacle, I suspect there’s is a hypersensitive focus on the issue of private emails for government officials.