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Ivanka Trump Used Personal Email For Government Business, Washington Post Says


Throughout last year, Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of emails to government officials using a personal email account. That's according to The Washington Post. Carol Leonnig is one of the reporters who broke the story and joins us now. Welcome.


SHAPIRO: What was Ivanka Trump emailing about?

LEONNIG: They basically break down into three categories. One is emails that she sent before she took the official role of a White House adviser. So from the time her father was president in January 19 to March 30, she was emailing Cabinet officials to talk about all sorts of interesting ways she felt they could collaborate on, things about entrepreneurship and gender equity and women's roles in the workplace.

The next bucket was emails - and these were far more prevalent - emails she sent on her private email account about her public work so she could kind of keep track of her scheduling, her logistics. These are described by her legal team as her - a busy woman trying to keep track of her life. And unfortunately, you have to - when you're discussing public business, you have to keep that on a public account and archive it in the government's records, sort of the history of the Trump administration.

The third bucket were emails where she basically was talking to White House aides and officials that she was close to using her personal account. We just don't know what are in those emails, but they've been described to us in large measure.

SHAPIRO: There is such obvious parallels here with the Clinton campaign from 2016. And I take it those parallels are not lost on White House aides.

LEONNIG: Well, when this first came to light inside the White House - and it - the sort of volume of the emails that she was sending was certainly not known by the press at that time. There were some White House aides who were very concerned. Whether they shared that with Ivanka Trump or with the president is unclear. But they were very concerned about the parallels and how much this bore - or echoed what Hillary Clinton had done. Even though it wasn't the same, it was just similar enough that they were worried about the fallout if it ever became known.

SHAPIRO: Now that it has become known, what's the White House response?

LEONNIG: The White House declined to comment when we asked them about it today. And they referred us to Ivanka Trump's lawyer, Abbe Lowell. His team told us essentially that this was one of those just dumb mistakes - they didn't use the word dumb - but that Ivanka Trump wasn't trying to engage in any secret business. She wasn't trying to conduct a shadow government in private email. She just kept emailing back people who replied to her on her personal email. And again, she sometimes made the mistake of just using her personal email for various business reasons.

SHAPIRO: Carol Leonnig is an investigative reporter at The Washington Post. Thank you for joining us.

LEONNIG: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF NEVSKIY BIT'S "MNE TAK VAZHNO") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.