Sept. 26 (UPI) — The Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee has joined calls for the White House to release information about anyone using private email servers for government work, including senior adviser Jared Kushner.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., joined an effort by Rep. Elijah Cummings, R-Md., to give the White House until Oct. 9 to identify anyone using anything other than official government email and cellphone accounts to conduct official business.
Cummings’ demand Monday came after it was disclosed that Kushner, President Donald Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, used a private server to send official communications during the transitional period between November and January.
Later Monday, Gowdy signed onto a letter sent by he and Cummings to White House counsel.
“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 letter stated.
Abbe Lowell, Kushner’s lawyer, has said fewer than 100 emails were sent with a private server.
House Democratic investigators said they intend to investigate Kushner’s use of a private email server. Their actions could escalate probes involving Kushner’s Russia-related activities, which are under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Cummings sent a separate letter to Kushner, requesting that Kushner preserve all personal emails.
The New York Times on Monday cited current and former officials in a report that said at least five other White House employees similarly used a private server — and Newsweek reported that Ivanka Trump, now an unpaid federal employee, used a private server to send emails in late February.
Newsweek’s report cited documents obtained by non-profit American Oversight.
Use of private email in official government work is a violation of the Presidential Records Act, and has the potential to be compromised through cyberattacks and hacking.
Some critics, including former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, have slammed Trump and his administration over the emerging scandal — which was an issue then-candidate Trump repeatedly used against Clinton during his campaign last year.
“It’s just the height of hypocrisy,” Clinton said in an interview on SiriusXM Monday.
“Yet again we see that there’s one rule for the Trump family and another for everyone else. It’s simply breathtaking that both Ivanka and Jared Kushner would conduct government [work] on a personal email account after running a campaign centered on that very issue. The fact that they would brazenly ignore rules governing email use raises even more questions about their judgement and fitness to hold positions in the White House,” Austin Evers, American Oversight’s director and former State Department senior counsel, told Newsweek.
The White House told Newsweek that the emails involving Ivanka Trump were sent before she became a federal employee.
“She made clear that one of her reasons for [becoming a federal employee] was to ensure that she would have access to government-issued communications devices and receive an official email account to protect government records,” a White House spokesperson said.
American Oversight, though, said Ivanka Trump had significant White House access before she officially signed on