White House rejects request for Trump, Putin communications

Adjust Comment Print

Lowell also disputed the assertion that he acknowledged Ivanka still only forwards some of her personal emails involving official business to her White House email account.

House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings said Thursday his committee has obtained new information that several senior White House officials have used personal email and messaging accounts to conduct government business, asserting that President Donald Trump's son-in-law communicated with foreign leaders through a private messaging application that appears to lack adequate safeguards.

And he asked the White House for a briefing on its protocols for preserving records in accordance with the law.

The White House did not respond to Newsweek's request for additional comment on the request from congressional committees.

In the letter, Cummings noted that Kushner's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, had told Congress in December that Kushner used WhatsApp as part of his official duties but did not say whether such messages included classified information. He also said he told Cummings and then-House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy, who was also in the December meeting, that he was not familiar with the details of Kushner's use of the messaging application and referred them to the White House counsel.

Lowell responded Thursday to Cummings' letter, which he said is "not completely accurate about what was said".

On Thursday, White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to the Democratic chairmen of the three committees rebuffing all those requests.

But White House counsel argues that Democrats are making an overly broad request for "detailed information related to the President's meetings and telephone calls with Russian president Vladimir Putin", in addition to "confidential communications" between the president and top advisers.

Dead whale found with 40 kilograms of plastic in its stomach
In June a year ago , a pilot whale was found dead in Thailand after swallowing 80 plastic bags . The young Cuvier's beaked whale died from gastric shock, according to biologists.

"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 fact, as you know, the White House has not produced a single piece of paper to the committee in the 116th Congress - in this or any other investigation", Mr Cummings wrote, referring to the current session of Congress, when Democrats took control of the House.

Lowell also denied saying that Ivanka Trump continued to receive emails related to official business on a personal account.

The use of messaging services such as WhatsApp could run afoul of White House policy and the Presidential Records Act, which prohibits White House officials from sending a record "using a nonofficial electronic message account" unless the messages are copied to an official account within 20 days.

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.

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'".

"Congress can not require the president to disclose confidential communications with foreign leaders".

The chairmen specifically were seeking access to all State Department employees and contractors with knowledge of Trump's communications with the Russian leader, including "linguists, translators, or interpreters who participated in [sic] attended, or in any way listened in on President Trump's in-person meetings with President Putin, as well as President Trump's phone calls with President Putin".

Comments