Published: Fri, March 22, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Cummings: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s private emails, texts raise security concerns

Cummings: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s private emails, texts raise security concerns

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, in a letter sent Thursday to the chairmen of the House Oversight, Foreign Affairs, and Intelligence Committees, said that Congress has demonstrated no legal or constitutional authority to gain access to the president's diplomatic communications.

The White House Thursday rejected a call by House Democrats for documents relating to private conversations between President Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

When asked whether Kushner had ever used WhatsApp to discuss classified information, Cummings said Lowell responded, "That's above my pay grade", and referred questions to the White House and the National Security Council, according to Cummings' letter.

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.

According to Cummings, when pressed how Kushner was backing up his communications in order to assure that he wasn't violating the Presidential Records Act, Lowell responded that Kushner took "screenshots" and forwarded them to his official White House email account or to the National Security Council.

President Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have been using private email accounts and the messaging service WhatsApp to conduct official government business, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee said in a Thursday letter to the White House.

Cummings said the administration has not provided the panel with a "single piece of paper" since he requested a batch of records - as well as a briefing by White House officials - last December.

Senior adviser to the President Jared Kushner used private email and a messaging app to conduct official business, the House oversight committee says.

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"While we respectfully seek to accommodate appropriate oversight requests, we are unaware of any precedent supporting such sweeping requests", he wrote in a letter to Cummings, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, and Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel.

It was unclear whether Kushner continued to use WhatsApp after the December meeting. He acknowledged referring questions about Kushner's contacts through WhatsApp to the White House, and argued that Kushner "follows the protocols", including over classified information.

While the top USA diplomat, Clinton sent thousands of emails using a private server set up at her home in Chappaqua, New York. Kushner was also caught using a private email for government business in September 2017. The White House has refused to turn over the documents.

In the final month of the 2016 presidential race, Donald Trump accused Clinton of "willful and deliberate criminal conduct" in her use of private email while serving as secretary of state.

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.

Robert Giuffra, a lawyer for McFarland, declined comment.

Cummings requested documentation into the use of email by March 28.

"President Trump, on multiple occasions, appears to have taken steps to hide details of his communications with President Putin from other administration officials, Congress, and the American people", Schiff, Cummings and Engel wrote in a letter requesting access to records and testimony regarding the president's communication with Putin.

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