US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner reportedly used a private email server to conduct White House business. Politico reported on Sunday (24 September) that the private email account was used alongside his official White House email account to communicate with senior White House officials, outside advisers and others regarding various topics including media coverage, event planning and other topics.
Kushner reportedly set up the private email account during the transition period last December.
Current and former aides who traded emails with Kushner on his private account since President Donald Trump took office in January include former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Steve Bannon, chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and spokesman John Raffel.
According to Politico, the aides had emailed Kushner's private account first. In some cases, Priebus and Bannon used private email accounts as well to communicate with Kushner and others.
However, there is currently no indication that Kushner shared sensitive or classified information via his private account or that he relies more on his private account than his official White House account for official government matters. The 36-year-old reportedly prefers to call or text rather than use email, unnamed aides told Politico.
"Mr Kushner uses his White House email address to conduct White House business," Abbe Lowell, a lawyer for Kushner, told Politico in a statement. "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."
During the race to the White House, Trump's campaign frequently attacked former Democratic rival Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. The issue, which was also the subject of an FBI investigation, triggered "lock her up" chants at many rallies.
The revelation also comes as Trump's White House faces intense scrutiny amid ongoing investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and alleged collusion between Trump's team and the Kremlin.
Kushner, who is married to Trump's eldest daughter Ivanka, has also been seen as a person of interest after it was reported in May that he tried to set up a secret "backchannel" line of communication between Trump's transition team and Moscow. It was also reported in June that Kushner attended a meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer, organised by Donald Trump Jr, who offered damaging information on Clinton.
However, Kushner described the meeting as a "waste of time" and said he texted an assistant to call him out of the meeting.
"All of my actions were proper and occurred in the normal course of events of a very unique campaign," Kushner said in July after a closed-door meeting with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill. "I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did."