House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) on Thursday published a letter he sent to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone that raises new concerns over the use of private email, and messaging apps by high ranking non-career officials in the White House, including Ivanka Trump, and her husband Jared Kushner, to conduct official government business.
According to the 9 page letter, Cummings explains that in March of 2017, while Republicans held the majority in the House, the Oversight Committee launched a bi-partisan investigation into the use of private email accounts, and messaging apps, specifically the WhatsApp application, to conduct government business by “non-career officials at the White House,” which would violate the Presidential Records Act and a White House policy.
Cummings explains that between then and now, the White House has failed to produce all requested information requested by the committee, Cummings notes, that since the start of the 116th Congress the “White House has not produced a single piece of paper,” requested regarding any of the ongoing Oversight investigations.
The letter reveals new information that the Chairman explains has raised “even more concerns about the use of private email and messaging applications by Jared Kushner and other White House Officials.”
Cumming writes, “during a meeting,” held in December 2018, with Kushner’s lawyer, “Abbe Lowell, Mr. Lowell, confirmed that Mr. Kushner,” had in fact used the WhatsApp to “communicate with foreign leaders.”
Lowell was asked if these included classified materials to which Cummings say’s Lowell replied, “that’s above my pay grade.”
Cummings explains that asked how Kushner “preserves records of his communications,” Lowell replied, “screenshots,” Kushner would then forward those screenshots to his White House email account or “to the National Security Council.”
Cummings has given the White House until April 4th to turn over documents relating to, Kushner, President Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, K.T. McFarland and Steve Bannon, use of private emails and applications.
JUST IN: Kushner's attorney, Abbe Lowell disputes elements of Cummings' letter, says he told lawmakers to talk to the White House about Kushner's WhatsApp use. https://t.co/uOZdCgKGph pic.twitter.com/vkxbEf6bJO— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) March 21, 2019
As the Politico article notes, Democrats on the Committee criticized former Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) for failing to issue subpoenas regarding the investigation into private email use by Kushner and other White House Officials.