Cummings: Ivanka Trump not saving all official email

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump More

22 March, 2019

The House oversight committee first launched their investigation into use of personal email "in violation of the Presidential Records Act and White House policy" back in 2017, Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., wrote in Thursday's letter.

To underscore his concern about whether unsecured White House communications have included classified information, Cummings said in the letter that Kushner's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, acknowledged during a meeting with committee leaders in December that Kushner had used the messaging application WhatsApp to communicate with foreign leaders. He also said he told Cummings and then-House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy, who was also in the December meeting, that he was not familiar with the details of Kushner's use of the messaging application and referred them to the White House counsel.

Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and a powerful White House aide, is not preserving all of her official email communications as required by federal law, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee said on Thursday.

Cummings also wrote that the House committee, which he chairs, had obtained documents that appeared to show Bannon received messages to his personal email from Barrack about the technology transfer. He also said that the Oversight Committee learned that McFarland "conducted official business on her personal account" when she was deputy national security adviser and that they had "also obtained a document that appears to show that Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist, received documents" related to transferring United States nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. Kushner attended one of the sessions, The Washington Post reported at the time.

Cummings said in his letter that a law governing presidential records prohibits top White House officials, including the president and vice-president, from using non-official electronic messaging accounts.

Kushner, whom the president put in charge of finding peace in the Middle East, regularly communicates with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman via WhatsApp, Politico reported.

Additionally, it was revealed late a year ago that the president's daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump used a private email account to send hundreds of emails to Cabinet officials, White House aides and personal assistants throughout much of 2017.

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His letter said others may have been involved in the practice while they worked at the White House, including former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland and former chief strategist Steve Bannon.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The scrutiny of the couple's communications by the House committee comes after news reports revealed the use of private email accounts and messaging applications as part of their government jobs.

"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.

Lowell's response Thursday said that he was discussing specifically a period before September 2017.

Lowell also denied saying that Ivanka Trump continued to receive emails related to official business on a personal account. An attorney for McFarland declined to comment.

He gave the White House until April 4 to provide documentation the committee requested for its investigation and asked the administration to describe whether the emails Ivanka Trump sent on her personal account contained sensitive or classified information.

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