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

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

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".

A key House Democrat is renewing demands that the White House turn over documents about the use of private texts or emails by Jared Kushner, saying Kushner's lawyer acknowledged that the senior aide used the non-secure WhatsApp application to communicate with foreign leaders.

He also contended that Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump, also a senior adviser, may be in violation of the Presidential Records Act by her use of private emails.

Cummings's letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone alleged that the documents showed McFarland used her personal AOL email account for official purposes, coordinating with White House officials and Tom Barrack-a friend of President Donald Trump and the chair of his inaugural committee-about sending the technology to the Saudis.

After the White House failed to respond to Cummings' document and briefing requests in December, Cummings added in his letter, the committee gathered information that raised "more concerns" about the personal email use of Kushner and other White House officials.

In response to the allegations, Kushner's lawyer Abbe Lowell said that the Democrats were mischaracterizing what the lawyer told lawmakers in a meeting in December.

According to a February 22, 2017 directive from the White House Counsel's Office, all White House personnel are required to "conduct all work related communications on your official EOP email account" except under "emergency circumstances".

Section 2209 of the statue stipulates White House officials are required to forward a "complete copy" of "official business conducted using non-official electronic messaging accounts" to "an official electronic messaging account of the President, Vice President, or covered employee" no later than 20 days after the creation of the communication.

Early previous year, White House lawyers warned West Wing staffers in mandatory ethics training sessions not to use encrypted messaging apps.

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".

The scrutiny of the couple's communications by the House committee comes after news reports revealed the use of private email accounts and messaging applications as part of their government jobs.

Lowell didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Oversight Committee said it's also learned that former Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland and former White House strategist Steve Bannon also used personal emails to conduct business related to sensitive nuclear technology.

Lowell says he told Cummings their discussion was in regard to a period before September 2017.

That proposal is under investigation by Cummings' committee, which is looking into information from whistleblowers who have said they witnessed "abnormal acts" within the Trump National Security Council involving senior White House officials who were pushing the plan. "As with all properly authorized oversight requests, the White House will review the letter and will provide a reasonable response in due course".

Related Articles