Oct 20, 2017, 6:23 PM ET

White House officials used private email, violated federal record-keeping rules, top Democrat says


White House officials have violated federal record-keeping laws by not promptly forwarding private emails to public accounts, a top House Democrat said today.

Interested in Trump Administration?

Add Trump Administration as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Trump Administration news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
Add Interest

In a letter to House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said White House lawyers told committee staff that "several White House employees came forward and 'confessed' that they failed to forward official records from their personal email accounts to their governmental email accounts within 20 days, as the Presidential Records Act requires."

"However, the White House officials refused to identify these employees," Cummings wrote. "When asked whether Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner complied with the Presidential Records Act, these White House officials replied, 'You should talk to Mr. Kushner’s counsel about that.'"

It's unclear whether the White House employees ever forwarded their personal emails to their governmental email accounts.

The Maryland Democrat is pressuring the chairman to push the White House to turn over documents on the use of private email in the West Wing, after reports that at least six senior officials, including President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, have used private email while working at the White House.

Cummings has also asked Gowdy to allow a committee vote on a subpoena to the White House for email documents and information.

The White House declined to identify any of the individuals to the committee while the White House counsel's office continues to review private email use internally, Cummings said.

Several White House aides did not respond to ABC News’ requests for comment on Cummings's account of the briefing.

In a statement, Gowdy pushed back on Cummings's description of the White House briefing, saying "allegations that we have completed our engagement with the White House on this issue are absurd."

"The Democrats assertion that the White House has not cooperated is false. Our investigation into private email use for official business is government-wide and not about one entity. The Committee has been looking at the use of private email for years. I’m glad my Democrat colleagues now acknowledge the severity of the issue. The White House provided a briefing this week to share specific details on all of our outstanding questions and committed to follow up at the conclusion of an ongoing investigation," he said.

Gowdy also said he spoke with a cabinet-level official to "ensure their full compliance" in the investigation of private email use at the White House and all federal agencies.

"We need the documents -- not the drama," he said.

Gowdy sent letters to the White House and federal agencies Friday afternoon urging cooperation with the panel's investigation into private email use. The White House committed to following up with the panel's initial request for information following the internal review of staff email practices, he indicated in his letter.

While it is not illegal for West Wing employees to use private email, White House officials are required to forward any official business done on private email accounts to their government email accounts within 20 days, under the Presidential Records Act.

News - White House officials used private email, violated federal record-keeping rules, top Democrat says

RRelated Posts


  • P.A.Brenner

    Ya we know Hillary did.

  • Chupacabra

    Give them the same punishment that Hillary got. Or better yet, Include Hillary in this mess and truly punish the whole lot.

  • Mike Montella

    where does Gen Kelly "admit that president trump is part of the problem"

  • Johnboy70

    Cummings has a lot of balls after what the great Hillary did. This guy should get back to the plantation and keep his ghetto dwellers under control. What an embarrassment to congress the rest of the world must think anyone can be in congress.

  • Former Earthling

    Only republicans are allowed to break the rules.

  • Darkman

    A bit like the pot calling the kettle black. No pun intended. Want to know what a liberal is guilty of. See what they are accusing their enemies of.

  • D Kimbrel

    Thanks for leading the charge now Cummings. You are a racist!!!

  • Bob Roberts

    Every blowhard that shouted lock her up are hypocrites if they aren't shouting lock them up now.

  • tiredoftheclintons

    "Let me repeat what I have repeated for many months now," Clinton said July 2, 2016. "I never received nor sent any material that was marked classified."


    In total, the investigation found 110 emails in 52 email chains containing information that was classified at the time it was sent or received. Eight chains contained top secret information, the highest level of classification, 36 chains contained secret information, and the remaining eight contained confidential information. Most of these emails, however, did not contain markings clearly delineating their status.

    Even so, Clinton and her team still should have known the information was not appropriate for an unclassified system, Comey said.

    "There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton's position or in the position of those with whom she was corresponding about the matters should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation," Comey said of some of the top secret chains.

    About 2,000 additional emails have been retroactively classified, or up-classified, meaning the information was not classified when it was first emailed. This is a regular practice when documents are reviewed for release, according to transparency experts.

  • tiredoftheclintons

    Yes. More than 2,000 of the 30,490 emails Clinton turned over to the State Department in December 2014 contained classified information, including 110 emails in 52 email chains that contained classified information at the time they were sent or received, Comey said. The FBI director said “a very small number” of the emails containing classified information “bore markings indicating the presence of classified information,” contrary to Clinton’s claims that none was marked classified.

    “Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of the classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” Comey said.

  • Cry Baby Trump News

    Hilary Clinton isn't in office so what she did or didn't do is only relevant in that those who used the email issue against her should be held to the same standard. Instead it's like slapping everyone in the face and saying none of it counts if we are in control. Admit it, they bamboozled America and are now sticking their thumbs in our eyes. Are you gonna let them win again by arguing like they want? Just take power back and indict them all!

  • Henry R

    Members of the Trump Administration should have known better especially after Hillary's disregard of rules and laws.


    It's okay for Trump officials to use a private email but not Hillary.