Donald Trump son-in-law-turned-White House aide Jared Kushner’s use of WhatsApp, as well as personal email and other unofficial message services in his official capacities, is coming under increased congressional scrutiny.
Congress is turning up the heat on the messaging habits of Trump’s only daughter-turned-White House adviser Ivanka Trump’s online habits too, as well as on those of other top White House aides, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said Monday, Reuters reports.
Oh, the hypocrisy irony. Was it only a couple of years ago that Trump and his many supporters were at rallies shouting, “Lock her up! Lock her up!” regarding Hillary Clinton—outraged, among other things, over her use of a personal email server while she was U.S. secretary of state?
But now, here we are, and Trump’s own daughter and son-in-law are being called out for basically the exact same thing.
As Reuters explained:
Cummings, the Democratic chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said the panel would begin its own review of emails and other communications by the White House that he said violated federal records law.
“The purpose of this investigation is to determine why White House officials used non-official email accounts, texting services and encrypted applications for official business,” Cummings wrote to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone.
Lawmakers will look at why records sent or received by non-official accounts were not forwarded to official accounts within 20 days as legally required, as well as whether there was a topic White House officials wanted to conceal, he said.
And, apparently, this effort to get answers regarding White House aides’ messaging practices has been a bipartisan affair. As Reuters notes, the probe began when Republicans ran the same House committee and was continued when Democrats took control of the House in the 2018 midterms.
However, as the Washington Post reports, times have changed and the current GOP members on the committee are unlikely to be of assistance as they are staunch allies of the Trump administration. Thus, per the Post:
If past is prologue, the panel is unlikely to receive the [communications] it seeks. The Trump administration repeatedly has blocked congressional oversight, and the White House is unlikely to comply with the request.
That means Democrats will have to decide once again whether to subpoena information to which they believe they are entitled. The chamber already is looking to the courts to enforce several subpoenas the administration has ignored, a process that could take months if not years.
And while the White House has continued to stonewall and refused requests to submit official work communications including emails, cellphone and other messages to the House committee Cummings says he’s received “more troubling information” about various aides’ practices. As Reuters reports:
Cummings said Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, had told lawmakers that Kushner used WhatsApp for official duties and that his wife, Ivanka, continued to use a personal email account for her White House business.
WhatsApp? No shade, but there’s something unsettling about the thought of official communications going through the same servers your little cousin can use to avoid text-message fees while traipsing through Asia on a gap-year tour.