the beast

US committee demands access to Kushner’s ‘WhatsApp messages to Saudi crown prince’

The New Arab

US committee demands access to Kushner’s ‘WhatsApp messages to Saudi crown prince’

Kushner is accused of messaging the Saudi crown prince via WhatsApp [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 March, 2019

The US Oversight Committee has demanded access White House documents to see if Donald Trump’s Middle East adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, used WhatsApp to message Saudi Arabia’s embattled Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about official government business.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, who leads the committee, wrote in a letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone that Kushner has continued to use WhatsApp on official US government dealings – including possibly transmitting classified information, according to Politico website.

This follows Cummings’ meeting with Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, who allegedly said that he was unsure whether sensitive government details had been shared by Trump’s Middle East chief envoy via the encrypted messaging service, saying that was “above my pay grade”.

Lowell has disputed some details in Cummings’ account of the conversation, saying he was not an authority on Kushner’s WhatsApp messages. He also claimed that Kushner screenshots all WhatsApp messages and forwards them to his White House email as per records preservation laws.

Kushner is also accused of using his personal email for White House business, something that Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was widely derided by Trump for doing when she served as Secretary of State.

He is also accused of using WhatsApp to speak with Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – who has been blacklisted by some European countries following alleged links to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Kushner is said to be a personal friend of Mohammed bin Salman, and is also rumoured to be close to the UAE’s de-facto ruler, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, and Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Cummings has demanded the White House reveal the WhatsApp messages and emails sent by Kushner, along with documents belonging to Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland, and Trump’s former chief security aide Steve Bannon.

McFarland is accused of using his personal email account on business with Tom Barrack, a longtime Trump aide, about the possible transfer of “sensitive US nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia”.

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