Just hours after Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to recused himself from any investigations that may involve the Trump campaign and Russia, the chaotic administration found itself in yet another controversy involving Vice President Mike Pence’s use of a personal email account while governor.
The Indianapolis Star reported Thursday that Pence routinely used a private email account to conduct public business as governor of Indiana, at times discussing sensitive matters and homeland security issues –and the email account was hacked.
Emails released to IndyStar in response to a public records request show Pence communicated via his personal AOL account with top advisers on topics ranging from security gates at the governor’s residence to the state’s response to terror attacks across the globe.
Pence used a personal AOL account to correspond with top advisers in Indiana, at times discussing sensitive topics that included the state’s response to terror attacks and the arrests of several men on federal terror-related charges, according to emails released to the Star in response to a public records request.
The current Indiana governor’s office released more than 30 pages of Pence’s AOL emails, but withheld an unspecified number of additional emails because they contained information the state deemed too sensitive, the Star reported.
The White House acknowledged Pence used a private email account and a state email account during his time as governor.
“As then-Governor Pence concluded his time in office, he directed outside counsel to review all of his communications to ensure that state-related emails are being transferred and properly archived by the state, in accordance with the law, which outside counsel has done and is continuing to do,” the White House said in a statement Thursday night.
Pence’s personal AOL account was hacked over the summer by a scammer who emailed Pence’s contact list, claiming that Pence and his wife were stranded in the Philippines and needed money, the Star reported.
The revelation that Pence used a personal email account for official business follows his outspoken criticism of Clinton for using a private email account for government business.
“You know, mishandling classified information is a crime,” Pence said of Clinton’s private email server during a campaign rally in November, according to Politico.
Earlier, Pence told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Clinton “either knew or should have known that she was placing classified information in a way that exposed it to being hacked and being made available in the public domain even to enemies of this country.”
Pence for more than 18 months has been fighting a lawsuit seeking to force him to release Indiana emails the suit contends should be public record.
Nick Merril, Clinton’s former press secretary, pointed out the hypocrisy in a Tweet.
“I look forward to the righteous indignation, wild claims, and multiple investigations into this,” Merril wrote Thursday night.