Jared Kushner accused of using WhatsApp and personal email for state business

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly Ivanka Trump White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff Nick Ayers listen as President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeti

"For example during a meeting with Mr. Kushner's attorney, Abbe Lowell, Mr. Lowell confirmed that Mr. Kushner has been using the messaging application WhatsApp as part of his official White House duties to communicate with foreign leaders".

In his letter, Cummings pointed out that the White House failed to produce most of the documents requested by the Oversight panel about the use of personal email and messaging accounts by White House officials, as well as records related to other investigations about the administration's immigration policy at the U.S. -Mexico border and hush-money payments made to women alleging extramarital affairs with Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign in exchange for their silence. It is unclear whether Kushner's communications included classified information, which Cummings noted would be a "major security breach".

"These communications raise questions about whether these officials complied with the Presidential Records Act and whether the White House identified this personal email use during its internal review and took steps to address it", Cummings wrote.

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".

Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and a powerful White House aide, did not preserve all of her official emails as required by federal law, and her husband, Jared Kushner, used a messaging application to conduct US business outside government channels, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee said on Thursday.

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"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".

"Yes!" said Ward. "And [former White House Counsel] Don McGahn, by the way, was just exasperated by it".

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.

The White House sent a letter to Schiff and other committee chairmen explaining why it had refused to hand over communications with Russian Federation.

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

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Cummings, Engel and Schiff had asked the White House and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in early March for documents and interviews about Trump's conversations with Putin.

The president initially indicated that he would cooperate with the Judiciary Committee, but White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders just hours later called the probe "a disgraceful and abusive investigation into exhausted, false allegations".

The White House refusal marks the latest move in the ongoing fight between the Trump administration and House Democrats looking to flex their oversight muscles since retaking control of the lower chamber of Congress in January. "If they don't include or screenshot or have this information forwarded from their personal accounts to their official government accounts, guess what, it goes into essentially the ether and no one can see it again", she explained.

Robert Giuffra, a lawyer for McFarland, declined comment.

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