Ivanka Trump, president Donald Trump’s daughter and adviser, was conducting government business from a private email account before she was employed by the government, according to records getting new attention this week.
Walter Shaub, former head of the US Office of Government Ethics, highlighted two messages uncovered by the nonpartisan watchdog group American Oversight. He served in the ethics office for six months under then-President Barack Obama and resigned six months into the Trump presidency.
One of the messages Shaub shared on Twitter appeared to show Ivanka Trump conducting business with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos almost a month before she had an official role:
Another, which was from several days earlier, referred to a government official as her “chief of staff.”
The organisation uncovered the messages in 2017 via a Freedom of Information Act request. But they’re receiving new attention in the wake of allegations in former national security advisor John Bolton’s upcoming book, which claims the president defended Saudi Arabia after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi to distract from the news that Ivanka Trump had been conducting government business via private email.
That behaviour was something the president railed against during the 2016 presidential campaign when the issue was Hillary Clinton’s private email server. The mere mention of the emails routinely led to “lock her up” chants at his rallies.
The president’s daughter has been at the centre of multiple ethics controversies during the Trump administration. In addition to her use of private email, she was awarded at least 18 trademarks by China at a time when the administration was attempting to negotiate trade with the country.