“What is next, putting nuclear codes in Instagram DMs?”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., implored lawmakers to get to the bottom of President Donald Trump adviser Jared Kushner’s use of WhatsApp to conduct government business during a heated committee meeting Tuesday.
Ocasio-Cortez railed against the administration for not responding to the House Judiciary Committee’s requests for information, calling Kushner’s use of the app “ridiculous.”
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“Every day that we go on without getting to the bottom of this matter is a day that we are putting hundreds if not potentially thousands of Americans at risk,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I mean, really, what is next, putting nuclear codes in Instagram DMs? This is ridiculous.”
The congresswoman’s monologue received mixed reactions on social media. Some supporters felt she was “spot on.” Meanwhile, detractors were less enthusiastic. One commenter likened her “nuclear codes” remark to widely mocked remarks Ocasio-Cortez made Monday, in which she compared the price of croissants at New York City’s LaGuardia airport to the hourly pay of American workers.
“Putting nuclear codes in Instagram DMs is even worse than $7 croissants at LaGuardia!” the user tweeted.
“We need to get to the bottom of this. And in order to do that, we have to issue subpoenas because people in this administration are not cooperating,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And everyday that there is an insecure line of communication that could be leaked, that could be hacked, that could be screenshotted, without proper channels, is a day where we are putting our national security at risk.”
At issue is President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner’s use of WhatsApp, a popular messaging application, in the course of his official duties.
Putting nuclear codes in Instagram DMs is even worse than $7 croissants at LaGuardia!
— ➳ Yang Ventures ➳ (@YangVentures) April 2, 2019
Cummings told the White House in a Thursday letter that Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, told lawmakers of Kushner’s use of the app to conduct business. Cummings also said that Lowell told lawmakers that Trump’s daughter and Kushner’s wife, Ivanka Trump, was using a private email to conduct official business.
In a reply to Cummings, Lowell denied telling lawmakers that Kushner communicated with foreign leaders on the app, but did say he used it to communicate with “some people”.
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Lowell also denied commenting on Ivanka Trump’s email account, telling Cummings that Ivanka “always forwards official business to her White House account.”
Both the use of WhatsApp and a private email to conduct official White House business would violate the Presidential Records Act, a law that prohibits White House officials from using non-official electronic messaging accounts.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was accused of similar conduct before the 2016 election, but the FBI declined to bring charges against the candidate.
Commenting to reporters Friday, Trump denied he had knowledge of Kushner’s use of the app.
“I know nothing about it. I’ve never heard that, I’ve never heard about it,” Trump told reporters.
Democrats say Kushner’s communications, especially with foreign leaders, raise concerns about the status of his security clearance.
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- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-M.D.: Screen grab