Elijah Cummings: White House officials using personal accounts to do official work

Cummings: Ivanka Trump not preserving all official email

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said in a letter to the White House that the use of private email accounts and the messaging application WhatsApp by senior administration officials raises "security and federal records concerns".

In his response letter Thursday, Lowell stressed that he didn't say whether Kushner used WhatsApp to communicate with foreign leaders or officials.

When they controlled House committees during the administration of President Barack Obama, Republicans aggressively investigated how Hillary Clinton used a private email server while secretary of state, and complained when then- FBI Director James Comey announced no criminal charges were warranted.

The White House didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

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.

Cummings noted Lowell could not say whether or not Kushner had shared classified information, which he noted 'would be a major security breach, ' in his messaging.

Lowell also said his discussion with the committee about Ivanka Trump's emails was specifically about the period before September 2017.

Public officials are allowed to conduct business on their own email accounts, but they are required to forward the messages to their official government accounts so they are part of the records.

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Elijah Cummings: White House officials using personal accounts to do official work

Under the Presidential Records Act, White House officials are prohibited from using non-official email or messaging systems without forwarding any messages to their official email accounts within 20 days.

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.

Cummings said that Trump's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, told the committee that Trump doesn't preserve official emails she receives in her personal account if she doesn't respond to them.

The House committee's investigation comes after Ivanka Trump past year dismissed any comparison to the use of private email by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, which prompted an FBI investigation and inspired the "Lock Her Up" chant at then-presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rallies.

He also said he referred Cummings to the White House counsel's office for questions about Kushner's use of the application. Rather, she forwards on the government-business-related emails she replies to, according to the Democrat's account of Lowell's explanation.

"In fact, 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, referring to the current session of Congress, when Democrats took control of the House. An attorney for McFarland declined to comment.

He said the document was related to efforts by McFarland and other White House officials to transfer sensitive US nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia "in coordination with Tom Barrack, a personal friend of President Trump and the chairman of President Trump's inaugural committee".

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

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