Published: Sat, March 23, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Cummings: Ivanka Trump not preserving all official email

Cummings: Ivanka Trump not preserving all official email

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is giving the White House a final chance to "voluntarily" cooperate with his investigation into the use of private email and messaging accounts by Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and other White House officials before turning to "alternative means" to obtain the information.

Here's the letter Cummings sent to the White House.

Cummings said that when it was under Republican control in March 2017, his committee started investigating whether White House officials were using personal email and messaging accounts to conduct official business.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said he knew nothing about son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner's use of the WhatsApp encrypted messaging tool, a day after a top Democratic congressman pressed the White House for information on the issue.

Representatives for Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner did not respond to a request for comment from the AP. It cites a February 6, 2017, email between McFarland and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.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'". Lowell referred inquiries to the White House and National Security Council about whether Kushner communicated classified information through WhatsApp, something that Cummings said would constitute a "major security breach".

"The White House's failure to provide documents and information is obstructing the Committee's investigation", Cummings wrote in the letter.

According to Cummings, however, the White House has not complied with any of these investigations.

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"I never said his communications through any app was with foreign "leaders" or "officials", Mr Lowell wrote, adding that Mr Kushner has many friends and contacts overseas.

Cummings asked the White House to confirm by March 28 whether it plans to respond to its request. The committee chairmen write that destroying the notes would be a violation of the Presidential Records Act.

Aside from the Kushners, the House committee said other officials such as the former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon used their personal email accounts to talk about the "transfer of sensitive US nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia".

Lowell also denied saying that Ivanka Trump continued to receive emails related to official business on a personal account.

In his letter, Cummings also singled out former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland, questioning whether they preserved documents related to a proposal to transfer nuclear power technology to Saudi Arabia. "While we respectfully seek to accommodate appropriate oversight requests, we are unaware of any precedent supporting such sweeping requests".

Kushner's communications, particularly with foreign leaders, have been under scrutiny since the presidential campaign, and questions have been raised about his security clearance.

In a joint statement on Thursday night, Mr Cummings, Mr Engel and Mr Schiff said that the Obama administration had "produced records describing the president and secretary of state's calls with foreign leaders".

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