Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and a powerful White House aide, did not preserve all of her official emails as required by federal law, and her husband, Jared Kushner, used a messaging application to conduct USA business outside government channels, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee said on Thursday.
Cummings also said his committee obtained documents showing that K.T. McFarland, former Deputy National Security Advisor, and Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist, conducted official business on their personal email accounts relating to transfer of sensitive USA nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.
Cummings described the December 19 discussion with Kushner lawyer Abbe Lowell in a letter to the White House counsel in which he requested information about the use of such messaging apps and other communications by White House personnel.
Cummings said in his letter that a law governing presidential records prohibits top White House officials, including the president and vice-president, from using non-official electronic messaging accounts.
Questions about Kushner's use of WhatsApp comes in the wake of the revelation that Trump past year directed that his son-in-law receive a top-secret security clearance, despite objections by career intelligence officials.
Meanwhile, the committee said that Ivanka had been receiving official emails on her personal account, and has not been forwarding them to her official White House account as required by law. Cummings asked Cipollone to confirm by March 28 whether the White House intends to comply voluntarily with its investigation and subsequent document requests.
He also said he referred Cummings to the White House counsel's office for questions about Kushner's use of the application.
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. Cummings says that appears to violate the Presidential Records Act. He told the committee at their meeting "now she always forwards official business to her White House account". 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.
Cummings also indicated that he was unsure whether or not Kushner had used WhatsApp to transmit classified government information.
In an interview with ABC News previous year, Ivanka Trump defended her use of a private email account, saying: "All of my emails are stored and preserved".
The Presidential Records Act outlines the way White House documents must be preserved and it falls under the jurisdiction of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
Lowell's response Thursday said that he was discussing specifically a period before September 2017.
Cummings said that the White House had not followed through with a briefing on this matter that they had promised him, and had not produced "a single piece of paper to the Committee.in this or any other investigation" since Democrats took over the majority in the House.
"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.
A representative for Bannon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Robert Giuffra, a lawyer for McFarland, declined comment.
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