The House Oversight committee voted on Thursday to subpoena emails and texts from White House officials sent or received on their personal accounts. As Chairman Elijah Cummings said, the panel is worried that the administration may be in violation of the Presidential Records Act, which was initiated in the wake of Watergate.
Cummings shared his frustrations with what he says is an uncooperative White House. He's learned that several officials, such as the attorneys of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, have admitted to using personal devices or personal emails for official duty. Kushner's lawyer reportedly used the app WhatsApp to communicate with foreign individuals, while Ivanka's attorney used a personal email account for official business and never forwarded the correspondence to the official account within 20 days, which is required by law. Former White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon also reportedly used his personal Blackberry for official business.
These, Cummings observed, are "admitted violations of federal law."
Oversight committee chairman Elijah Cummings said the White House was stonewalling the investigation on potential violations of federal records law.— NPR (@NPR) July 25, 2019
"What we do not yet know is why these White House officials were attempting to conceal these communications," he said.
The chairman said the White House has only provided a select few documents and has not followed up with the committee about its internal investigation into the matter. Cummings added that he has precedent to make these requests, considering Congress has previously demanded emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during its Benghazi investigation.
Cummings insists the committee is pursuing these White House records because it's the law. But of course others will view this as another political ploy to bring down Trump - especially now that Democrats don't seem to be getting anywhere with Robert Mueller.