Two key U.S. lawmakers, a Republican and a Democrat, are calling for the White House to turn over the names of aides to President Donald Trump who have used private email addresses and encrypted software to conduct government business after being told not to.
Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, and the panel's top Democrat, Congressman Elijah Cummings, said they want the information by October 9 as part of their investigation about whether the officials could be circumventing a requirement to preserve records of government work on official U.S. computers.
Officials also could probe whether the officials transmitted classified government material in the private email chains.
"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," Gowdy and Cummings wrote in a letter to White House Counsel Don McGahn.
A lawyer for Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and a White House adviser, has acknowledged that Kushner traded fewer than 100 work-related emails using a private domain. U.S. news accounts in recent days say other top presidential advisers, including Kushner's wife, Ivanka Trump, economic adviser Gary Cohn, former chief of staff Reince Priebus and former chief strategist Stephen Bannon also have used private email accounts for White House business.
The issue is particularly sensitive for the Trump White House since the billionaire-real-estate-magnate-turned-Republican-politician complained throughout his 2016 campaign that his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, transmitted classified material through her private email server while she was secretary of state. Trump's most fervent supporters repeatedly shouted "Lock her up!" whenever he attacked her email arrangement.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation concluded that Clinton's use of a private email server was "extremely careless," but that no criminal charges were warranted.
On Monday night, Clinton said it was the "height of hypocrisy" that Trump aides used private emails to conduct government business in light of their complaints about her during the campaign.