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Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

As recently as December 2018, Jared Kushner has used his personal email account and encrypted messaging apps, including WhatsApp, to conduct official White House business and communicate with foreign nationals, his lawyer Abe Lowell reportedly told House Democrats.

Details: House Oversight chairman Elijah Cummings demanded that the White House provide more details on Kushner's messaging habits by April 4, claiming that Lowell told him and former chair Trey Gowdy about Kushner's WhatsApp use in December. Lowell on Thursday disputed Cummings' characterization, and said that lawmakers should direct questions about Kushner's WhatsApp use to White House lawyers, according to a letter obtained by Politico.

The big picture: Kushner has come under fire before for skirting national security norms in his role as a senior presidential aide, with intelligence officials warning against granting him a full security clearance due to his business entanglements — before President Trump reportedly overruled them.

  • Cummings also claimed that Lowell said Ivanka Trump, Kushner's wife, conducts official White House business through her personal email account, a possible violation of the Presidential Records Act.
  • Lowell also disputed the timeline of that characterization, and said that Ivanka "always forwards official business to her White House account."

Go deeper ... White House leaks to House Dems on Jared and Ivanka's clearances

Go deeper

41 mins ago - World

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai detained on fraud charge

An activist holds a placard highlighting China's Tiananmen Square massacre as pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrives at West Kowloon Magistrates' Court in Hong Kong in November. Photo: Isaac Wong/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai is being detained until an April court hearing after the pro-democracy supporter was charged Thursday with fraud, per his Apple Daily news outlet.

Why it matters: His arrest and denial of bail is another blow for the pro-democracy movement in the former British colony amid concerns about a fresh crackdown on activists.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.