President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, used a personal email account to communicate with colleagues in the White House, his lawyer has confirmed.
Mr Kushner used the private account during the first nine months of serving in the White House, lawyer Abbe Lowell said.
At the same time, Mr Trump had castigated opponent Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email account for government business.
The explosive admission made for a dramatic day in the White House where the President inked a new travel ban on eight countries, including North Korea and Venezuela.
Meanwhile, Mr Kushner’s lawyer tried to downplay the seriousness of the use of the personal account, confirming “fewer than a hundred emails from January through August were either sent to or returned by Mr Kushner to colleagues in the White House from his personal email account”.
“These usually forwarded news articles or political commentary and most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange by sending an email to his personal, rather than his White House, address,” Mr Lowell said in a statement.
“Mr Kushner uses his White House email address to conduct White House business.”
Mr Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, set up the private account before Mr Trump moved into the White House.
Mr Kushner was named a senior adviser to the President in January.
Once in the White House, Mr Kushner used his private account for convenience from time to time – especially when he was traveling or using a personal laptop, according to two people familiar with his practice.
A person who has reviewed the emails said many were quickly forwarded to his government account and none appears to contain classified information.
But the revelation may be an embarrassment for the Trump administration after Mr Trump had publicly and repeatedly highlighted Mrs Clinton’s use of the private email server for official correspondence when she was President Barack Obama’s secretary of state.
Mr Trump frequently led crowds in chants of “Lock her up!” during the campaign and vowed in October she would “be in jail” over the matter if he became President.
He has since said he would not pursue prosecution.
Political website Politico earlier reported other senior Trump aides had also used private email accounts, including former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Steve Bannon and economic adviser Gary Cohn.
Travel ban widened
Mr Trump signed a proclamation for new travel restrictions that affect citizens of Venezuela, Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and North Korea.
The rules will go into effect on October 18. Officials stress that valid visas would not be revoked as a result of the proclamation.
The new restrictions resulted from a review after Mr Trump’s original travel bans were challenged in court.
The addition of North Korea and Venezuela broadens the restrictions from the original, mostly Muslim-majority list.
“North Korea does not cooperate with the United States Government in any respect and fails to satisfy all information-sharing requirements,” the proclamation said.
“As President, I must act to protect the security and interests of the United States and its people,” the proclamation reads.
The restrictions rage from full travel bans on nationals from countries like Syria to more targeted restrictions.
A suspension of non-immigrant visas to citizens for Venezuela, for instance, applies only to senior government officials and their immediate families.
Unlike Trump’s first travel ban, which sparked chaos at airports across the country and a flurry of legal challenges, officials said they have been working for months on the new rules, in collaboration with various agencies and in conversation with foreign governments.