‘Six White House advisers used private email accounts’

Washington: At least six of US President Donald Trump’s closest advisers occasionally used private email addresses for official White House business, current and former officials have said.

The disclosures came a day after news surfaced that Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner used a private email account to send or receive about 100 work-related emails during the administration’s first seven months.

But, a New York Times report on Monday cited officials as saying that Kushner was not alone. His wife and the President’s daughter Ivanka Trump, former chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon, and former chief of staff Reince Priebus also occasionally used private email addresses for official business.

Other advisers, including Gary D. Cohn and Stephen Miller sent or received at least a few emails on personal accounts, officials told the New York Times.

Ivanka used a private account when she acted as an unpaid adviser in the first months of the administration, Newsweek reported.

None of those named are believed to have broken the law, which allows public officials to use private addresses where official emails are forwarded to government accounts to be archived for reasons of transparency.

However, the reports have the potential to cause serious embarrassment to Trump, whose 2016 election campaign was built in part on regular and heavy criticism of Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State.

The report prompted Clinton to describe criticism of her own private server use as “the height of hypocrisy”. She was the subject of regular chants of “lock her up” at Trump rallies and beyond during the campaign.

Speaking to Sirius XM radio on Monday, Clinton hit out at “the hypocrisy of this administration, who knew there was no real scandal, who knew that there was no basis for all their hyperventilating”.

“We’re finding with the latest revelations — they didn’t mean any of it. It’s just the height of hypocrisy,” she said.

“It is something that if they were sincere about I think you’d have Republican members of Congress calling for an investigation. I haven’t heard that yet.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation closed its investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified information and recommended no charges. But even after becoming President, Trump has prodded the Justice Department to reinvestigate.

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders characterised the use of private email accounts within the Trump administration as “very limited”.

“White House counsel has instructed all White House staff to use their government email for official business, and only use that email,” she said.