Threatens to ‘consider alternative means to obtain compliance’ if White House keeps ignoring requests…
(Ben Peters, CQ-Roll Call) Rep. Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, penned a letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone Thursday, alleging that Trump administration officials violated federal law.
The Maryland Democrat said in his letter that the committee’s investigation has found new information that “raises additional security and federal records concerns about the use of private email and messaging applications,” by President Donald Trump’s daughter, son-in-law and several other administration officials.
Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, was dogged by eerily similar allegations that she had funneled official, sometimes classified emails to a private, unsecured server in her bathroom while secretary of State. However, the FBI dropped its investigation claiming she did not intend to break the law. Voters thought differently.
Cummings’ letter demanded the counsel provide, by April 4, documents his committee previously requested but didn’t receive. It also asked for new documents relating to information the committee recently discovered about Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and others including Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon.
If the White House does not comply, the committee will “be forced to consider alternative means to obtain compliance,” the letter said.
Cummings alleged in the letter that Ivanka Trump, violated the Presidential Records Act by receiving emails related to official business on her personal email account.
The president’s daughter reportedly failed to forward emails she received on her personal account to an official White House email account.
The law requires emails related to official White House business received on personal mailing accounts to be forwarded to an official account of either the president or vice president within 20 days of receipt, the letter said.
Cummings raised concerns over Kushner’s use of messaging program WhatsApp “as part of his official duties in the White House.”
Cummings’ letter said Abbe Lowell—Kushner and wife Ivanka Trump’s personal lawyer—met with him and then-committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., in December of 2018.
Lowell confirmed Kushner “had communications with people outside the United States” over the app before preserving the communications by taking screenshots and forwarding them to his official White House email account, the letter said.
“When asked whether Mr. Kushner has ever used WhatsApp to discuss classified information, Mr. Lowell replied, ‘That’s above my pay grade,'” the letter said.
Lowell sent a letter to Cummings on Thursday disputing some of the letter’s characterizations of their conversation regarding Kushner’s WhatsApp use, according to The Associated Press.
Cummings revealed that the oversight committee obtained documents suggesting that K.T. McFarland, former deputy national security adviser, transferred sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia through a personal AOL.com account.
The transfer was handled, in coordination with Tom Barrack, President Trump’s personal friend and chairman of the 2016 inaugural committee, the letter said.
The committee also acquired documents indicating that Bannon, while he still worked in the White House, pitched the plan of sharing delicate information with Saudi Arabia to Barrack.
Cummings said in the letter that he is concerned if the White House identified the use of personal emails, and whether it took steps to address the issue.
In an op-ed published in The Washington Post Wednesday, Cummings wrote that the White House has repeatedly failed to produce any documents or witnesses related to the committee’s investigation.
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