Melania Trump used private email accounts and apps while in White House, ex-adviser says

First lady becomes fourth senior member of administration to have used personal communication channels

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First lady Melania Trump used a number of private email accounts and messaging apps while in the White House, according to a former friend and adviser.

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff told The Washington Post in an interview that neither she nor the first lady used White House emails when they corresponded multiple times a day.

She says that Mrs Trump used a Trump Organisation email address, an email from the domain MelaniaTrump.com, Apple iMessage, and the Signal encrypted messaging app.

Ms Winston Wolkoff gave the interview upon publication of her tell-all book Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady.

She showed The Post messages containing discussions of government hires and contracts, including her own, as well as detailed schedules for the president and first lady on official visits to Israel and Japan.

In addition, there were conversations regarding partnerships for the first lady’s Be Best initiative, logistics for the White House Easter egg roll, and even finances for president Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration, parts of which Ms Winston Wolkoff planned.

As a presidential candidate, Mr Trump constantly drew attention to the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state under president Barack Obama.

He referred to the magnitude of the investigation as being “worse than Watergate”.

Mrs Trump is just the latest member of the administration to be revealed to have used private methods of communication for government business, leading to accusations of hypocrisy on the part of the Trump White House.

The House Oversight Committee is looking at the use of private email accounts by Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, as well as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

The Independent has asked the White House for comment.

Using personal emails for government business is a grey area, in that while allowed under the Presidential Records Act, trouble can arise if the emails are not correctly archived and are required in a response to a subpoena.

It is also forbidden to discuss classified material in non-government accounts.

Ms Winston Wolkoff did not include a discussion of the first lady’s emails in her memoir, but shared them with The Post, as well as recordings of conversations with Mrs Trump, after the White House attacked her in response to publication of the book.

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