Jared Kushner uses WhatsApp for White House business, lawyer told lawmakers

Lawyer: Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump discuss official business over private accounts

Lawyer: Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump discuss official business over private accounts

It comes after Democratic Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings said in a letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone that the panel confirmed late past year with Abbe Lowell, personal counsel for Kushner and Trump, that the couple used their personal email and WhatsApp for official business.

In a letter released on Thursday, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) informed the president's counsel, Pat Cipollone, that Kushner and Trump's daughter Ivanka might be in violation of the Presidential Records Act. It is unclear whether Kushner's communications included classified information, which Cummings noted would be a "major security breach".

The letter says Lowell confirmed that Kushner, Ivanka Trump's husband and a senior White House aide, uses the WhatsApp to conduct official USA government business. He said Lowell told them Kushner preserves records of his communication by taking screenshots of his WhatsApp messages and forwarding them to his official White House email.

It is not illegal for White House officials to use personal accounts for government 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.

The Maryland Democrat also bashed the White House for not providing the committee with essential documents, which were repeatedly requested.

If this is not done reliably, the use of private accounts can put official records beyond the reach of journalists, lawmakers and others who seek publicly available information.

In his letter to Cipollone, Cummings demanded that the White House produce documents related to their investigation into this matter by April 4.

The request will go to the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the White House counsel's office, among others, the Post said, citing unnamed congressional aides familiar with the plan.

"I did not specify who they were", Lowell said. "The Committee requests that you confirm by March 28, 2019, whether you intend to comply voluntarily with its request or whether the committee should consider alternative means to obtain the information it needs to conduct its investigation", Cummings wrote. That would appear to violate the Presidential Records Act, Cummings said. He also said that the Oversight Committee learned that McFarland "conducted official business on her personal AOL.com account" when she was deputy national security adviser and that they had "also obtained a document that appears to show that Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist, received documents" related to transferring United States nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.

Per their letter, Kushner's lawyer also admitted to the Committee that he used a private email from January to August of 2017.

Trump, of course, made a huge deal in the 2016 presidential campaign out of Clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of state ― so much so that "But her emails!" became a sarcastic meme.

His letter said others may have been involved in the practice while they worked at the White House, including former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland and former chief strategist Steve Bannon.

A spokesman for Lowell provided Lowell's response to Cummings on Thursday afternoon.

The Constitution gives the executive branch exclusive power to conduct foreign relations, Mr Cipollone said.

Serious questions have been raised in the wake of the 2016 presidential election about improper contact between Trump associates and foreign officials.

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