White House rejects Democrats' demands for information on Trump-Putin talks

White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner left and Ivanka Trump the daughter and assistant to President Donald Trump walk across the tarmac before boarding Air Force One Thursday Nov. 29 2018 at Andrews Air Force Base Md

In a Thursday letter to the White House, the Maryland Democrat alleged that Jared Kushner, who is also a senior White House adviser, had been using WhatsApp, a popular messaging application, to "communicate with foreign leaders" - something he said that Kushner's attorney had confirmed in a private meeting. The Democratic chairman said her practices "appear" to violate the Presidential Records Act.

"The House committee's investigation comes after Ivanka Trump a year ago 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".

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.

"That's above my pay grade", Lowell reportedly said in response to queries regarding whether or not the information included in those messages was classified.

According to Lowell, Kushner is in compliance with the law and records his communications via screenshots.

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.

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The Democrats reacted: "Our Committees are in receipt of the White House Counsel's letter, which continues a troubling pattern by the Trump Administration of rejecting legitimate and necessary congressional oversight with no regard for precedent or the constitution".

Speaking with CNN late on Thursday, Democratic Representative of Rhode Island David Cicilline said that Kushner's use of private channels to communicate with foreigners, including potentially foreign leaders, is "very concerning", especially given the fact that questions have been raised over whether Kushner should have received a security clearance.

"I did not specify who they were", Lowell said. The attorney noted Kushner has "numerous friends and contacts overseas".

Cummings said Lowell told the committee that Kushner's wife, Ivanka Trump, continues to receive emails related to official business on her personal email account but doesn't forward them to an official account unless she replies to it.

Per their letter, Kushner's lawyer also admitted to the Committee that he used a private email from January to August of 2017. Lowell added he later told the committee, "Now she always forwards official business to her White House account". Her lawyer declined to comment.

The congresswoman tweeted "But his WhatsApp" hours after the House Oversight and Reform Committee revealed Kushner and Ivanka Trump had used the messaging app and private email accounts for official business. He said the document was related to efforts by McFarland and other White House officials to transfer sensitive US nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia "in coordination with Tom Barrack, a personal friend of President Trump and the chairman of President Trump's inaugural committee".

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