Ivanka Trump Used Private Emails With Treasury Officials

Ivanka Trump attends an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, October 26. Months after taking her White House position, Trump was not using official email. Carlos Barria/Reuters

Updated | As Republicans unveiled their tax reform plan Thursday, Newsweek learned that months after Ivanka Trump took an official White House position, she was still using a private email account to communicate with the U.S. Treasury Department, discussing national economic programs, her meetings with global leaders and the child care tax credit, one of her signature projects.

Related: Ivanka Trump has an army of White House employees scrambling to address her every need

The correspondence also indicates that Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, were among a select group of regulars, including Cabinet secretaries and actual budget experts and economists, to attend a weekly "Economic Principals Lunch" hosted by National Economic Council (NEC) head Gary Cohn in his office. Ivanka Trump and Kushner, whose White House portfolios are undefined, were invitees to several of Cohn's lunches, along with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and former White House strategist Steve Bannon.

Ivanka Trump and Kushner were also included in a larger meeting of "NEC Principals" that was to be held on May 9, six weeks after she took an official White House position. That meeting, in the White House Situation Room, was canceled. On the invitee list, "Ivanka Kushner" again appears to not have a White House email address, while others do.

The email tranche was obtained via Freedom of Information Act request by the nonprofit American Oversight. "After Ivanka Trump was exposed using a personal email account for government business, the White House assured the American people that the use was rare and limited to a short period of time before she officially started on staff," the organization's director, Austin Evers, said. "The facts, however, show us that the Trump administration has misled the public yet again. The hypocrisy of Ivanka Trump and her father's administration should be surprising, but now sadly comes as no shock after months of evasive and shifting answers from the White House."

The correspondence includes one email sent by Newt Gingrich on July 15, warning Ivanka Trump and a handful of other White House officials, including Kushner, Kellyanne Conway and Bannon, that "we need a simple tax cut bill signed into law by Thanksgiving." Gingrich fired off his warning with a news article headlined: "The Euphoria about the U.S. Economy After the Election Has Vanished."

That, or any tax reform, is now virtually certain not to happen before Thanksgiving.

Ivanka Trump and Kushner's use of private email accounts for White House business has been previously reported by Newsweek and others. They are believed to have used at least three private accounts. The White House in October announced it was launching an investigation into the use of private accounts for official business.

Representative Elijah Cummings, minority chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, requested on Thursday a vote on whether to subpoena the White House over the private emails. The subpoena had been held pending the White House internal review of the private emails, but, Cumming said in a statement, "we have received no date certain and no commitment for all the information we are seeking."

Republicans voted it down.

Donald Trump's campaign for president was buoyed by public outrage—further stoked by other Republicans—over Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server for State Department business during her term as secretary of state. Although an FBI investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing, Trump used the private server as evidence for his contention that "Crooked Hillary" deserved to be imprisoned, and mention of the private emails at his raucous rallies usually preceded chants of "Lock her up!"

When the private emails were first revealed in late September, a Kushner family spokesman told Politico that Ivanka Trump was careful to separate her personal life from her White House business. Kushner's lawyer at the time said most of his use of the private email was "initiated by someone else." But the Treasury emails indicate that in many instances, Ivanka was initiating correspondence using a personal email account, and he staff was using it to include her in emails.

The Treasury-related emails show efforts by Ivanka Trump and her office to push her signature projects, especially the child care tax credit, and to organize a launch day at the G-20 in Germany for her Women's Entrepreneurship Finance Initiative, which her staff was calling We-Fi for short.

Between the beginning of April and mid-July, the period covered by the released Treasury emails, Ivanka Trump frequently used her private email address to communicate with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin's staff, including to introduce one of her aides to Mnuchin adviser Dan Kowalski, a former staffer at the Congressional Budget Office and the House Budget Committee.

Kowalski replied to her on the private account, but explicitly apologized for it. At the end of an email in which he was arranging a meeting for Ivanka Trump to discuss child care and family leave policies with the secretary general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Kowalski wrote: "My apologies for reaching out to you on your personal email for this, but it is in the only email I have for you. I feel it is an important enough opportunity to reach out in this way."

"The White House instructs staff to fully comply with the Presidential Records Act and applicable guidelines for work-related communications. We have briefed staff on the need to preserve records and working to ensure compliance," said a White House official on background.

This story has been updated with the response from a White House official.