Democrats accuse Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner of violating law with private emails

President Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have been using private email accounts and the messaging service WhatsApp to conduct official government business, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee said in a Thursday letter to the White House.

The use of private email and apps by two presidential advisers could violate the Presidential Records Act. It also would amount to the same activity that Republicans, led by Trump, campaigned on in 2016 as evidence of Hillary Clinton’s alleged criminality.

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump (Yahoo News photo Illustration; photos: AP, Getty)
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump (Yahoo News photo Illustration; photos: AP, Getty Images)

In his letter to the White House, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the chair of the committee, requested documents and information relating to the Trump White House’s use of nongovernmental channels.

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.”

That, Cummings said, violates the Presidential Records Act.

Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, assured Cummings that his client took screenshots on WhatsApp of all government business conducted on the platform, including the times he has used it to communicate with foreign leaders. When asked whether he had used the app — which is prohibited by the White House — to discuss classified information, Cummings said Lowell replied, “That’s above my pay grade.”

Cummings noted that the revelations about Kushner and Trump’s communications had come to light in 2017, but that “new information that raises additional security and federal records concerns” has since been obtained.

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 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,” Cummings said in his letter.

“If you continue to withhold these documents from the Committee,” Cummings added, “we will be forced to consider alternative means to obtain compliance,” a not-so-veiled allusion to a possible subpoena.

In the final month of the 2016 presidential race, Donald Trump accused Clinton of “willful and deliberate criminal conduct” in her use of private email while serving as secretary of state.


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