Cummings: Ivanka Trump not saving all official email

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said in a letter to the White House that the use of private email accounts and the messaging application WhatsApp by senior administration officials raises "security and federal records concerns".

He also noted that "there was never classified information transmitted" using her private email account.

House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings said Thursday his committee has obtained new information that several senior White House officials have used personal email and messaging accounts to conduct government business, asserting that President Donald Trump's son-in-law communicated with foreign leaders through a private messaging application that appears to lack adequate safeguards.

Cummings said he and Rep. Trey Gowdy, the committee's Republican chairman at the time, met with Lowell, the personal lawyer for Kushner and Ivanka, in December 2018.

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".

As to whether Kushner shared classified information, Lowell replied: 'That's above my pay grade'.

Under the Presidential Records Act, White House officials are prohibited from using non-official email or messaging systems without forwarding any messages to their official email accounts within 20 days. Cummings noted that in October 2017, White House lawyers briefed committee staff and "confessed" that several White House employees had failed to forward official records from their personal email accounts to their government accounts within 20 days, although they refused to identify the staffers.

Ivanka Trump's use of private e-mail for White House communications has come up before.

The House committee's investigation comes after Ivanka Trump a year ago 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.

"In fact, as you know, the White House has not produced a single piece of paper to the committee in the 116th Congress - in this or any other investigation", Cummings wrote, referring to the current session of Congress, when Democrats took control of the House.

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.

Bannon also received a January 29, 2017, email from Barrack that Cummings said was a pitch of the plan sent to inform "Bannon's official work relating to developing 'broader Middle East policy'".

He gave the White House until April 4 to provide documentation the committee requested for its investigation and asked the administration to describe whether the emails Ivanka Trump sent on her personal account contained sensitive or classified information.

A representative for Bannon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Washington Post has reported that Trump sent hundreds of emails about government business from a personal email account to White House aides, Cabinet members and her assistant. An attorney for McFarland declined to comment. "As with all properly authorized oversight requests, the White House will review the letter and will provide a reasonable response in due course".

  • Joey Payne