Melania Trump used private email for govt business: former adviser

Washington DC, Sep 1 (efe-epa).- The first lady of the United States, Melania Trump, used private email accounts for government business while in the White House, the same habit that her husband, President Donald Trump, used to attack his rival in the 2016 election Democrat Hillary Clinton.

A former adviser and friend of the first lady, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, revealed Melania’s habit during an interview published Tuesday by The Washington Post.

After arriving at the White House in 2017, the first lady used both an email account of the Trump Organization and another one of her website MelaniaTrump.com to conduct government business, in addition to using the text messaging applications iMessage and Signal, said Winston Wolkoff.

The Post had access to messages dated after Trump’s rise to power that “appear to be from private email and messaging accounts” of the first lady, who discussed issues related to her position, instead of using her White House’s official account.

The newspaper also reported that there were conversations about government contracts, the president and the first lady’s schedules during their state visits to Israel and Japan, details of Melania’s “Be Best” initiative, and financial data of the presidential inauguration.

This use of private email is allowed under the Presidential Records Act as long as the email is not used to share confidential information. However, it is risky, because if messages are deleted, they may not be available in case the Congress demands to see them.

In addition, the first lady is not an employee of the federal government, but “if she is doing United States government business, she should be using the White House email,” US lawyer Richard Painter told the Post. He was chief of the White House ethics during the George W. Bush administration (2001-2009).

“It’s total hypocrisy. They got elected acting as if Hillary Clinton ought to be in jail for using the wrong email,” when she was Secretary of State, Painter recalled.

The first lady is not the only person close to Trump who has used private accounts for official business. The US lower house committee has also investigated the president’s daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner for using private emails.

Winston Wolkoff spoke with the Post on the occasion of the launch of her book Tuesday about the first lady, “Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady”.

The author said she had a fifteen-year friendship with Melania, for whom she worked as an unpaid adviser during her first year in the White House, in addition to helping organize the inauguration of Donald Trump.

Melania’s friend ended up being fired and felt “betrayed” by the first lady, who did not defend her when the media uncovered the suspicious contracts surrounding the inauguration.

Winston Wolkoff ended up cooperating with prosecutors as Trump’s inauguration spending was under investigation, and wrote in her book that working for the Trumps was “the worst mistake” of her life.

After her departure from the White House in 2018, Melania Trump’s former adviser began recording her conversations with the first lady, and played some of those recordings for the Post, to which she also showed a text message that apparently was from Melania, calling Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner “snakes.”

The most talked about of Winston Wolkoff’s book is how she described the tense relationship between Melania and the president’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump.

According to Winston Wolkoff, the first lady called Ivanka a “princess” and tried to keep her out of some swearing-in photos. This plan is called between two friends as “Operation Block Ivanka.”

The former adviser, who plans to vote in November for the Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, describes the marriage between Donald and Melania Trump as well, about which there has been all kinds of speculation.

“They get along completely well. It’s very crazy. They laugh together. She knows who she married. He knows who she married. They are the same thing,” the author told the Post.

The White House has not reacted to the information about Melania’s emails, but to the publication of the book. The first lady’s spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham, described it as a “revisionist history” written by a “deeply insecure woman” who wants “revenge.” EFE-EPA


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