WH Refuses Dems' Request For Info On Trump's Talks With Putin

President Donald Trump chats with Russia's President Vladimir Putin as they attend the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on Nov. 11 2017

WH Refuses Dems' Request For Info On Trump's Talks With Putin

This is foreign business interactions and, by the way, it's being blocked from other parts of the US government.

Cummings noted that Kushner's attorney Abbe Lowell told him and then-chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) late previous year that his client had been "using the messaging application What'sApp as part of his official White House communication with foreign leaders".

It was unclear whether Kushner continued to use WhatsApp after the December meeting.

The congressman said when Lowell was asked about classified information, he responded, "That's above my pay grade".

According to Cummings, when pressed how Kushner was backing up his communications in order to assure that he wasn't violating the Presidential Records Act, Lowell responded that Kushner took "screenshots" and forwarded them to his official White House email account or to the National Security Council.

Lowell would not tell the committee whether Kushner had ever used WhatsApp to discuss classified information.

During a discussion about the Kushner WhatsApp news on MSNBC's The 11th Hour, Clint Watts, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent and a cybersecurity expert, noted a story in The New York Times about "internet mercenaries" selling their hacking skills to foreign governments. CNN reported previous year that Kushner was communicating with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman using WhatsApp.

In a letter sent Thursday to White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Cummings accused the White House of "obstructing" his committee's investigation into allegations of violations of federal record laws.

He suggested the panel had other ways to demand the information, if the White House won't turn documents over voluntarily.

The same goes for the House Judiciary Committee whose chairman, Jerrold Nadler of NY, launched a wide-ranging probe earlier this month into allegations of obstruction of justice and abuse of power by the president.

Cummings asked the White House on Thursday for information about any appointees who have used personal email accounts, text messages, phone-based message applications or encryption software to conduct official business. His repeated attacks triggered chants of "Lock her up" by his supporters.

While the top US diplomat, Clinton sent thousands of emails using a private server set up at her home in Chappaqua, New York. She has insisted there is no comparison to what Clinton did because her emails were "preserved" and did not include "anything of substance".

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Elijah Cummings, D-Md., speaks during the House Oversight Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, March 14, 2019.

Democrats alleged this week that White House aide Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, are breaking USA law by failing to preserve all of official government emails and other electronic communications.

In his letter to Cipollone, Cummings demanded that the White House produce documents related to their investigation into this matter by April 4.

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.

The White House on Thursday rejected a Democratic request for information on private conversations between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, including an interview with an interpreter who sat in on their one-on-one meeting in Helsinki last summer.

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