Cummings concerned about Jared, Ivanka private emails, texts

Cummings concerned about Jared, Ivanka private emails, texts

Kerry Wise
March 22, 2019

According to the letter, Lowell said Kushner has used the application to have "communications with people outside the United States", though he did not provide the identities of those involved.

He also contended that Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump, also a senior adviser, may be in violation of the Presidential Records Act by her use of private emails. Cummings asked Cipollone to confirm by March 28 whether the White House intends to comply voluntarily with its investigation and subsequent document requests.

In a letter addressed to White House counsel Pat Cipollone on Thursday, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, said the couple's attorney acknowledged they used personal email accounts to conduct official government business, with Kushner also communicating on the encrypted messaging app WhatsApp.

Lowell challenged aspects of Cummings's account, writing in his own letter that he did not say that Kushner used WhatsApp to communicate with foreign leaders.

Cummings said he and Rep. Trey Gowdy, the committee's Republican chairman at the time, met with Lowell, the personal lawyer for Kushner and Ivanka, in December 2018.

The letter raises the latest concern about the use of private email and messaging applications to conduct official White House business. "Mr. Lowell could not answer whether Mr. Kushner's communications included classified information", Cummings wrote. Cummings says that appears to violate the Presidential Records Act.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said in a letter that Trump's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, informed the committee late a year ago that Trump doesn't preserve official emails she receives in her personal account if she doesn't respond to them.

Lowell told them Kushner takes screen shots of his WhatsApp messages and sends them to his official White House email account or to the National Security Council so they can be preserved.

Early previous year, White House lawyers warned West Wing staffers in mandatory ethics training sessions not to use encrypted messaging apps.

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The details about Kushner's use of e-mail and messaging came up because of a new House Oversight Committee demand for documents from Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump as well as from former Trump strategist Steve Bannon and former Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland.

A representative for Bannon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"As you know, the White House has not produced a single piece of paper to the Committee in the 116th Congress - in this or any other investigation", Cummings wrote.

Steven Groves, a White House spokesman, said: "The White House has received Chairman Cummings' letter of March 21st".

Bannon also received a January 29, 2017, email from Barrack that Cummings said was a pitch of the plan sent to inform "Bannon's official work relating to developing 'broader Middle East policy'".

In the years since Mrs. Clinton left the State Department a new law was passed that does require government business to be transacted on official accounts - or at the least for official messages sent to personal emails to be forwarded.

He said that Trump's White House had so far failed to provide documents and information and was "obstructing" his committee's efforts to investigate possible violations of White House policy and the presidential records law.

Cummings says that he expects to hear back from the White House or will be forced to pursue other avenues to obtain the information he has requested.