Rep. Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, is expressing concerns over senior White House aide Jared Kushner’s use of the encrypted messaging service WhatsApp and his personal e-mail account for official government business.
Cummings has revealed that Kushner’s use of WhatsApp was discussed during a December 19 meeting that the Maryland Democrat attended along with Rep. Trey Gowdy and Abbe Lowell, who is Kushner’s attorney. And Cummings voiced his concerns over Kushner’s use of WhatsApp for government matters in a March 21 letter to White House Counsel Pat A. Cipollone.
Cummings also indicated that he was unsure whether or not Kushner had used WhatsApp to transmit classified government information. In his letter to Cipollone, the House Oversight Committee chairman wrote that Lowell “could not answer whether Mr. Kushner’s communications included classified information—which would be a major security breach—but instead, directed the Committee to inquire with the National Security Council and the White House.”
Cummings added, “The White House’s failure to provide documents and information is obstructing the Committee’s investigation into allegations of violations of federal records laws by White House officials.”
Cummings lttr keypoints:
– Kushner has used encrypted WhatsApp for official business.
– His attny did not reply when asked if any of that was classified.
– His attny said Kushner takes "screenshots" of his WhatsApp texts and forwards them to his WH email or nat sec staff. 1/
— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) March 21, 2019
The presidential son-in-law, according to Politico, reportedly uses WhatsApp to communicate with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The details about Kushner’s use of e-mail and messaging came up because of a new House Oversight Committee demand for documents from him and his wife Ivanka Trump as well as from former Trump strategist Steve Bannon and former Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland. Cummings has demanded those documents by April 4 at the latest and indicated a willingness to issue subpoenas if the White House does not comply.
Ivanka Trump’s use of private e-mail for White House communications has come up before. In mid-November, Carol Leonnig and Josh Dawsey reported in the Washington Post that she had sent hundreds of e-mails to aides, Trump cabinet officials and her assistant via a private e-mail address she shares with Kushner.