Jared Kushner used non-secure WhatsApp to contact foreign leaders, Democrat says

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Elijah Cummings D-Md. speaks during the House Oversight Committee hearing on Capitol Hill

In his letter to Cipollone, the House Oversight Committee chairman wrote that Lowell "could not answer whether Mr. Kushner's communications included classified information-which would be a major security breach-but instead, directed the Committee to inquire with the National Security Council and the White House".

The committee said that it learned about the use of private email and WhatsApp from a December 2018 conversation from Kushner's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, who also represents the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump.

When they controlled House committees during the administration of President Barack Obama, Republicans aggressively investigated how Hillary Clinton used a private email server while secretary of state, and complained when then- FBI Director James Comey announced no criminal charges were warranted.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, is expressing concerns over senior White House aide Jared Kushner's use of the encrypted messaging service WhatsApp and his personal e-mail account for official government business.

In a letter to Cummings on Thursday, also seen by Reuters, Lowell said the congressman was "not completely accurate" in characterizing what Lowell earlier had told congressional investigators about Kushner and Ivanka Trump's handling of electronic communications.

The chairman also wrote that his committee has obtained new information about other White House officials that raises additional security and federal records concerns about the use of private email and messaging applications. Cummings says that appears to violate the Presidential Records Act.

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Ivanka Trump, Cummings wrote, "continues to receive emails relating to official business on her personal email account" and "she does not forward emails received through her personal account unless she responds to the email, even if the subject matter of the email relates to her official duties".

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

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.

The requirement for her to preserve her communications was outlined in a law which is similar to the one which governs the preservation of White House records. According to Cummings, when Lowell was asked if Kushner ever communicated classified information on WhatsApp, Lowell responded, "That's above my paygrade". "The Committee requests that you confirm by March 28, 2019, whether you intend to comply voluntarily with its requests or whether the Committee should consider alternative means to obtain the information it needs to conduct its investigation".

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.

That proposal is under investigation by Cummings' committee, which is looking into information from whistleblowers who have said they witnessed "abnormal acts" within the Trump National Security Council involving senior White House officials who were pushing the plan. Lowell added he later told the committee, "Now she always forwards official business to her White House account".

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