WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump said on Friday that he did not know anything about the son-in-law and white house counselor Jared Kushner's use of the WhatsApp encrypted messaging tool, one day after a top US democratic congressman questioning the unofficial communication .
FILE PHOTO: Drum Advisor Jared Kushner Listens as US President Donald Trump meets with his White House Cabinet in Washington, USA, August 16, 2018. REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque / Filfoto
On Thursday, US House of Representatives Supervisory Committee became President Elijah Cummings asked the White House about Kushner's use of the unofficial application as part of his government work.
In a letter to the White House, seen by Reuters, Cummings said that Kushner's lawyer had told lawmakers about his WhatsApp use for official duties, a step that would violate applicable law prohibiting White House officials from using -official electronic messaging accounts.
Trump spoke to White House journalists before leaving for Mar-A-Lago, his private club in Florida over the weekend, denying Kushner's unofficial communication.
"I know nothing about it. I've never heard it, I've never heard of it," said the Republican President.
Cummings in his letter Thursday said Kushner lawyer Abbe Lowell also told Congress that Ivanka Trump – the president's daughter, Kushner's wife and also a top White House adviser – continued to use a personal email account for official business. It would also violate the presidential law.
In a separate letter to Cummings, Lowell called the president's characterization of earlier comments "not exactly."
The lawyer refused to tell congressmen Kushner had announced through any app with foreign "leaders" or "officials" But said that Kushner had instead used such apps to communicate with "some people" that he did not specify.
Lowell also refused to say that Ivanka Trump continued to receive emails in connection with official business in a personal account. He said Ivanka Trump "always forward official business to his White House account."
In the 2016 presidential election, Trump raised against his democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, for her use of a private e-mail server while serving as state secretary, inspirational chants at his collections of "unlocking her." The FBI and the Justice Department examined Clinton, but brought no charges.
Kushner's communications, especially with foreign leaders, have been under control since the presidential campaign, and questions have been raised about his security clearance.
WhatsApp is owned by Facebook Inc.
Reporting by Susan Heavey and Jeff Mason; editing by Jonathan Oatis