Jared Kushner uses private email and WhatsApp to conduct official government business

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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". Lowell also, according to the Democrats, confirmed that Kushner's communications were with "people outside of the United States", according to the letter.

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

President Trump's adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner used the encrypted messaging service WhatsApp as well as his personal email account to conduct official business, a top House Democrat charged Thursday.

"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".

Lowell also said his discussion with the committee about Ivanka Trump's emails was specifically about the period before September 2017.

Previous attempts by the committee to obtain information on the use of private email have been rebuffed by the White House, setting up the latest battle between the Democratic-controlled body and the president.

The lawyer on Thursday did not directly address the "above my pay grade" comment but said that he conveyed to lawmakers in December that Kushner was following protocols, including in regard to classified information.

The Presidential Records Act prohibits senior White House officials from creating or sending a record "using a non-official electronic message account". 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.

The scrutiny of the couple's communications by the House committee comes after news reports revealed the use of private email accounts and messaging applications as part of their government jobs.

Cummings said Lowell also told him and then-South Carolina GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy, who was the chair at the time of the December meeting, that first daughter and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump conducts official White House business on her personal email account. 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.

In his letter, Cummings also singled out former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland, questioning whether they preserved documents related to a proposal to transfer nuclear power technology to Saudi Arabia.

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'". According to Cummings, when Lowell was asked if Kushner ever communicated classified information on WhatsApp, Lowell responded, "That's above my paygrade".

Cummings said the deadline for the document requests is April 4.

"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", he wrote. "As with all properly authorized oversight requests, the White House will review the letter and will provide a reasonable response in due course", Groves added.

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