Committee Expands Personal Email Investigation After Six Months of White House Stonewalling
Washington, D.C. (July 1, 2019)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a letter to the White House requesting copies of all emails and other communications sent or received by White house officials in violation of federal law and the White House’s own records policy.
The White House has refused to produce a single document or a single briefing in response to a request from Cummings more than six months ago.
“Unfortunately, over the past six months since I sent my letter, you have not produced a single document, you have not provided any of the requested briefings, and you have not offered any timeline by which these requests will be fulfilled,” Cummings wrote. “The White House’s complete obstruction of the Committee’s investigation for the past six months is an affront to our constitutional system of government.”
Cummings explained in today’s letter that his request in December 2018 was limited to information previously requested by former Republican Chairmen Jason Chaffetz and Trey Gowdy, in letters on March 8, 2017, September 25, 2017, and November 20, 2018.
Cummings did not request specific emails or communications to or from White House officials at that time because the White House made assurances that it was conducting its own review of these matters and would provide information to the Committee “as soon as practicable.”
After hearing no response for months, Cummings wrote again to the White House on March 21, 2019, conveying more troubling information about apparent violations of the Presidential Records Act by Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Steve Bannon, and K.T. McFarland.
In addition, the report issued by Special Counsel Robert Mueller stated that Mr. Bannon admitted that “he regularly used his personal Blackberry and personal email for work-related communications (including those with [Erik] Prince), and he took no steps to preserve these work communications.”
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; why they failed to forward records sent or received on non-official accounts to their official accounts within 20 days as required by federal law; whether there were specific topics that White House officials sought to conceal; and whether legislative changes should be made to prevent similar violations in the future.
Click here to read today’s letter.