Ivanka Trump’s lawyer is hitting back against “misinformation being peddled” in the press alleging that the president’s daughter sent “hundreds” of emails about government business using her personal email.
A report published Monday night by The Washington Post claimed that Trump, who serves as her father’s senior adviser, may have violated federal records rules by using a personal email account to contact “White House aides, Cabinet officials and her assistant” concerning government matters, as well as her personal travel arrangements.
The newspaper’s story, which cites people familiar with the records who reviewed them amid a public records lawsuit, contains no indication that any of Trump’s emails contained classified or sensitive government information.
Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, also had a private email account on the domain “ijkfamily.com,” according to the report. While Trump and Kushner had a private domain name — essentially affording them a personalized dot-com email address on the Internet — they reportedly did not maintain their own server hardware to physically store the emails sent to it.
In a statement to Fox News, Peter Mirijanian, the spokesperson for Trump’s ethics lawyer Abbe Lowell, emphasized those distinctions to the Hillary Clinton email scandal that engulfed the 2016 presidential campaign.
“To address misinformation being peddled about Ms. Trump’s personal email, she did not create a private server in her house or office, there was never classified information transmitted, the account was never transferred or housed at Trump Organization, no emails were ever deleted, and the emails have been retained in the official account in conformity with records preservation laws and rules,” Mirijanian said.
“She did not create a private server in her house or office, there was never classified information transmitted …”
He added: “When concerns were raised in the press 14 months ago, Ms. Trump reviewed and verified her email use with White House Counsel and explained the issue to congressional leaders.” Mirijanian told the Post that Trump had used a personal account prior to being briefed on ethics rules.
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An FBI probe found that, contrary to Clinton’s repeated assertions during her run for president, the former secretary of state during the Obama administration had in fact sent classified materials using a private server she established to handle virtually all of her government business. A total of 22 of the emails Clinton held on her private server contained top secret information, and nearly 2,100 contained some form of classified information.
Approximately 31,000 emails were also deleted — and never recovered — from Clinton’s server following a congressional subpoena. Because Clinton — and not a third party, like Gmail — owned, operated, and maintained the server, investigators faced additional challenges in seeking to recover that data.
Despite the distinctions between Clinton’s email practices and Trump’s, the Post reported late Monday that administration officials were “alarmed.” The paper quoted Austin Evers, the executive director of a liberal advocacy group, accusing the White House of “obvious hypocrisy.”
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The Presidential Records Act requires that all official communication by White House officials be archived, and Mirijanian said Trump already turned over all such communications from her personal account months ago for that purpose.
The Post acknowledged later in its story that Trump’s actions “could have” broken that law, after initially citing officials as saying that she had in fact violated federal rules.
Mirijanian explained that Trump used her personal account “almost always” for logistics matters, as opposed to more sensitive information that could implicate other federal laws.
“Like most people, before entering into government service, Ms. Trump used a private email,” he said. “When she entered the government, she was given a government email account for official use. While transitioning into government, until the White House provided her the same guidance they had to others who started before she did, Ms. Trump sometimes used her private account, almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family.”
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White House officials have been aware since shortly after the beginning of the administration that Trump and Kushner had used private email accounts.
“The White House instructs staff to fully comply with the Presidential Records Act, and briefed staff on the need to preserve records,” a senior official told Fox News late last year.
Kushner used personal email in his first few months of the administration, Lowell confirmed to Fox News at the time. He said the emails usually involved news articles and political commentary. Lowell also said any non-personal emails were forwarded to Kushner’s official account and “all have been preserved in any event.”
Former Chief White House Strategist Steve Bannon, former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, former Chief White House economic advisor Gary Cohn, and Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller were also reported to have used private accounts at one point during the administration, The New York Times reported.
And former FBI Director James Comey used a personal email account to “conduct unclassified FBI business,” the Justice Department’s watchdog revealed in an explosive report on the bureau’s conduct in the Clinton email investigation earlier this year.
DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote that he found Comey’s use of personal email to be “inconsistent with Department policy,” citing what he called “the absence of exigent circumstances and the frequency with which the use of personal email occurred.”
Horowitz also revealed that FBI agent Peter Strzok used his personal email account for government business. Most notably, Horowitz wrote that Strzok forwarded an email to his personal account regarding a proposed search warrant for former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop computer. Horowitz wrote that the email on Strzok’s personal account contained information “that appears to have been under seal at the time” in federal court.
Strzok was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation last year after Horowitz’s office discovered anti-Trump text messages between him and FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report.