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Melania Trump Used Private Emails at the White House: Report

Former friend and colleague Stephanie Winston Wolkoff talks about their email use
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2020 7:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – Want to reach Melania Trump at the White House? You might try one of her private email accounts. Or iMessage. Or Signal. That's according to former advisor and friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who wrote the tell-all memoir Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady. Wolkoff says Melania often used unofficial email accounts from the Trump Organization or the MelaniaTrump.com domain while working at the White House. In fact, they both did: "Melania and I both didn't use White House emails," she tells the Washington Post, which has seen the messages dated after President Trump's inauguration.

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Which raises questions—like, is that legal? Richard Painter, former chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, said that if Melania is "doing United States government business, she should be using the White House email." The Presidential Records Act does allow the use of personal accounts, but it's risky, since private emails and messages may be irretrievable in answer to a subpoena. "It's total hypocrisy," Painter added. "They got elected acting as if Hillary Clinton ought to be in jail for using the wrong email." A rep for Melania hasn't responded to People's request for a response. (Ivanka Trump also used private email for government business, but insisted it wasn't equivalent to Clinton's email use.)

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