Jul 25, 2019

House Oversight to subpoena White House private emails, WhatsApp messages

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The House Oversight Committee voted along party lines Thursday to authorize subpoenas for official communications records sent via "non-official electronic messaging accounts by non-career officials at the White House," including Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and former chief strategist Steve Bannon.

The big picture: Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) previously requested that top White House officials voluntarily turn over all official communications sent via private channels, including Kushner's encrypted WhatsApp messages with foreign officials, to uphold the Presidential Records Act. The White House refused to cooperate and is likely to defy the new subpoenas, setting up yet another court fight.

Cummings said in a statement:

“The Committee has obtained direct evidence that multiple high-level White House officials have been violating the Presidential Records Act by using personal email accounts, text messaging services, and even encrypted applications for official business — and not preserving those records in compliance with federal law.  What we do not yet know is why these White House officials were attempting to conceal these communications. Although our Committee’s investigation began as a bipartisan inquiry under former Chairmen Chaffetz and Gowdy, the White House has refused to produce a single piece of paper in this investigation for this entire year, which is why today’s subpoena has become necessary.”

Read the subpoena resolution:

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Senate Democrats' request to probe WH security clearances rejected by watchdog

Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration's intelligence watchdog rejected Senate Democrats' request to investigate the White House's handling of security clearances for employees including senior advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, a letter obtained by NBC News Wednesday shows.

Details: In the July 22 letter, Michael Atkinson, inspector general of the intelligence community, told the Democrats he could only investigate the issue if the president requested it. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, and 3 other top Democrats sent President Trump a letter Wednesday, asking him to order a probe.

Go deeperArrowAug 1, 2019

Scoop: Trump considered declaring state of emergency in Baltimore

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

It isn't clear if there was a plan for last week. Some consequential things went down: The U.S. sanctioned Iran's top diplomat, revved up the trade war with China, and signed off on a spending bill that will spike the national debt. But all that got largely lost by the wayside as the president went to war with a Baltimore icon.

The big picture: Nobody knew it was coming, nobody knew how to handle it, and a week later, senior White House officials have their fingers crossed that the president won't turn their week upside-down once again with another tweet about a "Fox and Friends" segment. As the week has unfurled, people inside and outside the White House described to me how a few pokes of a keyboard by the leader of the free world sent some of Washington's most powerful political players scrambling for cover.

Go deeperArrowAug 4, 2019

House Judiciary subpoenas Corey Lewandowski to testify in obstruction probe

Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and former White House official Rick Dearborn on Thursday to testify Sept. 17 about potential obstruction of justice by President Trump.

The big picture: The testimonies are part of the ongoing investigation by the committee — recently dubbed "formal impeachment proceedings" by House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) — into "obstruction, corruption and abuse of power by Trump and his associates." Unlike the other witnesses in the Mueller investigation who have been subpoenaed by the Judiciary committee, Lewandowski never worked in the Trump White House — a fact that Democrats hope will prevent the president from blocking his testimony.