House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., stated Thursday that an legal professional for Jared Kushner told him in December that the president’s son-in-law
makes use of the encrypted messaging application WhatsApp for the authentic enterprise, which includes human beings remote places. Cummings described the Dec. 19 dialogue with Kushner legal professional Abbe Lowell in a letter to the White House counsel wherein the requested information approximately the use of such messaging apps and different communications by means of White House personnel. Lowell challenged factors of Cummings’s account, writing in his own letter that he did no longer say that Kushner used WhatsApp to communicate with overseas leaders. He also stated he told Cummings and then-House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy, who changed into also within the December assembly, that he changed into no longer familiar with the information of Kushner’s use of the messaging application and referred them to the White House counsel. A White House spokesperson mentioned receiving Cummings’s letter Thursday and stated the chairman’s requests would be reviewed. The use of messaging offerings such as WhatsApp may want to run afoul of White House policy and the Presidential Records Act, which prohibits White House officials from sending a report “the usage of a nonofficial piece of email account” unless the messages are copied to an official account inside 20 days. According to a Feb. 22, 2017 directive from the White House Counsel’s Office, all White House personnel are required to “behavior all paintings associated communications to your professional EOP e-mail account” except under “emergency occasions.” Early remaining 12 months, White House attorneys warned West Wing staffers in obligatory ethics schooling periods now not to use encrypted messaging apps. Kushner attended one of the periods, The Washington Post mentioned on the time. According to Cummings’s letter, Lowell stated during their December assembly that Kushner turned into in compliance with statistics preservations guidelines because he took display shots of his communications and forwarded them to his reputable email or to National Security Council officers. Questions approximately Kushner’s use of WhatsApp comes within the wake of the revelation that Trump remaining yr directed that his son-in-law get hold of a top-secret protection clearance, in spite of objections by means of professional intelligence officers. In his letter Thursday, which turned into first mentioned by using Politico, Cummings stated Lowell additionally told him of their December meeting that Kushner’s wife, presidential adviser Ivanka Trump, changed into continuing to get hold of emails associated with White House business on her personal electronic mail account and did no longer continue to ahead them to her White House account. The Post said in November that Ivanka Trump despatched loads of emails in 2017 to White House aides, Cabinet officials and her assistants the use of a personal account, many of them in violation of federal facts guidelines. In his letter Thursday, Lowell stated he changed into referring to Ivanka Trump’s email practices before September 2017, when White House attorneys observed the volume of her personal email use. Cummings asked the White House on Thursday for facts approximately any appointees who’ve used personal e-mail accounts, text messages, phone-based message programs or encryption software to behavior official enterprise. The request is part of the Oversight Committee’s broader effort to get facts approximately White House operations and Kushner’s security clearance technique.
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