Asks FBI to Conduct Security Review of Nongovernmental Email Accounts, Domains, and Servers
Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent four letters after reports that President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, “re-routed their personal email accounts to computers run by the Trump Organization” less than 48 hours after receiving letters from Cummings and Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy directing them not to relocate or transfer these records while the Committee is conducting its investigation.
“If these reports are accurate, they raise serious questions about your actions,” Cummings wrote in a letter to Kushner and Ivanka Trump. “Although there may be legitimate reasons for transferring email accounts to different servers, neither you nor anyone from the White House contacted the Committee before you took these steps, despite the fact that you had received our letters before you reportedly took these actions.”
“In addition,” Cummings added, “it is unclear why you would transfer these accounts to the Trump Organization, which you claimed previously to have halted all business with in order to avoid conflicts of interest.”
“Finally,” wrote Cummings, “there are questions about whether any of the emails you sent or received on your private email accounts included classified or sensitive information, such as information relating to foreign leaders or the schedules of senior White House officials.”
On Monday, September 25, 2017, Cummings had sent a preservation letter after press accounts reported that Kushner and Ivanka set up a private domain on a non-governmental server for email use shortly before Donald Trump was sworn in as President. The letter stated explicitly that the request to “preserve” all records meant preventing the deletion, alteration, or “relocation” of these records.
Later that same day, Gowdy and Cummings sent a bipartisan follow-up request seeking information about their use of personal email accounts for officials business, and the attachment to their letter also made clear that these records should not be destroyed, modified, or “transferred.”
However, on Tuesday night, USA Today reported that within 24 to 48 hours of receiving these letters, “President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump re-routed their personal email accounts to computers run by the Trump Organization.” The report stated: “According to internet registration records reviewed by USA TODAY and cybersecurity researchers, Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump, who is also a senior adviser, re-routed their email accounts to a server operated by the Trump Organization on either Sept. 26 or 27, as attention from the media and lawmakers intensified.”
In contrast, on January 11, 2017, Ivanka Trump issued the following statement: “When my father takes office as the 45th President of the United States of America, I will take a formal leave of absence from The Trump Organization and my eponymous apparel and accessories brand. I will no longer be involved with the management or operations of either company.”
In addition to requesting an immediate briefing, Cummings requested that the pair “preserve all documents — regardless of whether you may believe they are personal or official — in order to help determine whether you have complied with federal law, including but not limited to the Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014, which require you to copy or forward all official records from your personal email accounts to your official email accounts within 20 days.”
Outside experts have also raised questions about “who at the Trump-owned company might have access to emails regarding White House business.”
So, in addition to his letter to Kushner and Ivanka Trump, Cummings also sent a preservation letter and briefing request to GoDaddy, which originally housed the email accounts and servers, and a similar letter to the Trump Organization, which reportedly houses them now.
Finally, Cummings sent a letter requesting that the FBI “conduct a security review to determine whether any classified or sensitive information was transmitted or stored on private email accounts or nongovernmental servers by senior White House officials.”
“As you know, scheduling information for top White House officials, information regarding foreign leaders, and even some information in news articles can be considered classified,” Cummings wrote.
“The FBI has conducted counterintelligence investigations in the past to examine the use of private family domains and nongovernmental servers for official government business — most notably the review of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email,” Cummings added. “I ask that the FBI conduct a similar review in this instance.”
Email Preservation Letters to Ivanka, Kushner, Trump Org was originally published in Oversight Democrats on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.