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.
The committee launched a bipartisan investigation into the use of "personal email and messaging accounts" by "non-career officials at the White House", but Cummings says in the letter that even after he followed up in December 2018 requesting documents on the cusp of becoming chairman, "the White House failed to produce any additional documents" and "failed to provide the promised briefing during this timeframe".
According to Cummings, Lowell said that Kushner has been in compliance with the law, and that he takes "screenshots" of communications on his private WhatsApp account and forwards them to his official White House email account or to the National Security Council.
CNN reported a year ago that Kushner was communicating with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman using WhatsApp. Lowell said that he "never" said at their December meeting that Kushner's communications on WhatsApp were with foreign "leaders" or "officials".
Cummings alleged that Lowell, who also represents the President's daughter, told lawmakers that she doesn't forward every government-related email she receives on her personal account to her White House account.
Steven Groves, a White House spokesman, said: "The White House has received Chairman Cummings' letter of March 21st".
Cummings said the deadline for the document requests is April 4.
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The Presidential Records Act prohibits senior White House officials from creating or sending a record "using a non-official electronic message account".
The details about Kushner's use of e-mail and messaging came up because of a new House Oversight Committee demand for documents from Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump as well as from former Trump strategist Steve Bannon and former Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland. 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. Numerous emails were allegedly sent in violation of federal records rules, which requires that certain types of emails be sent through government servers for record-keeping purposes.
He said the document was related to efforts by McFarland and other White House officials to transfer sensitive US nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia "in coordination with Tom Barrack, a personal friend of President Trump and the chairman of President Trump's inaugural committee". It cites a February 6, 2017, email between McFarland and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Lowell's response Thursday said that he was discussing specifically a period before September 2017.
Coates explained that Cummings could have a hard time retrieving the information he needs for his investigation if the information is not kept in an official government record.
Robert Giuffra, a lawyer for McFarland, declined comment.
Lowell didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.