Abbe Lowell, a top Washington lawyer, exchanged emails on Monday with a prankster posing as his client Jared Kushner, at one point telling the prankster he needed to see “all emails” sent and received from a private email account Kushner had set up in December.
The exchange, masterminded by amateur Trump-Russia sleuth Jeff Jetton and executed by a prankster who tweets as @SINON_REBORN, comes as Kushner is dealing with his own minor email scandal and offers a window into how his team is responding in its initial stages.
Politico reported on Sunday that Kushner had used a private email address to communicate with top White House officials, including the former chief of staff Reince Priebus and former chief strategist Steve Bannon. The New York Times reported on Monday night that as many as six top White House officials, including Priebus and Bannon, had used private email accounts to discuss White House matters.
Lowell’s exchange with the man posing as Kushner marks the second time this month that a top lawyer representing a senior White House official corresponded with the prankster thinking he was a colleague or client. The White House special counsel, Ty Cobb, disclosed information about the FBI’s Russia investigation to the prankster earlier this month thinking he was the White House social-media director, Dan Scavino.
On Monday, the prankster wrote to Lowell from the address firstname.lastname@example.org asking what he should do with “some correspondence on my private email … featuring adult content.”
“Can I remove these?” the prankster asked.
“Forwarded or received from WH officials?” Lowell responded.
“I think one was forwarded from a White House official, we had discussed a shared interest of sorts,” the prankster said. “It was unsolicited. Then there are a handful more, but not from officials.”
“I need to see I think all emails between you and WH (just for me and us),” Lowell wrote. “We need to send any officials emails to your WH account. Not stuff like you asked about. None of those are going anywhere.”
“But we can bury it?” the prankster responded. “I’m so embarrassed. It’s fairly specialist stuff, half naked women on a trampoline, standing on legoscenes, the tag for the movie was #standingOnTheLittlePeople :(“
Lowell replied: “Don’t delete. Don’t send to anyone. Let’s chat in a bit.”
Lowell declined to comment on the record when asked about the exchange. He said in a previous statement that “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.”
“All non-personal emails were forwarded to his official address and all have been preserved in any event,” the statement said.
Lowell’s suggestion that he needs to see all emails sent or received from Kushner’s private account raises questions about whether he has fully examined the messages and what kind of information they contained.
Lowell said in his initial statement that the emails “usually forwarded news articles or political commentary,” and “most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange.”
Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, said he was “shocked to learn that Kushner’s lawyer did not review the relevant emails before issuing a statement making assertions about what was in them and how many there were.”
“A lawyer should never issue a public statement based solely on the client’s recollection,” Mariotti said, “because clients could forget key details or be less than forthcoming with their attorney.”