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Bannon Accused of Discussing Nuclear Tech Over Email

Newsweek logo Newsweek 3/21/2019 Tim Marcin
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In a letter released publicly on Thursday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D - Md.) said the committee had obtained documents showing that former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and former Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland discussed transferring sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. 

The letter alleged that documents showed McFarland used her personal AOL email for official purposes, coordinating with White House officials and Tom Barrack—a friend of President Donald Trump and the chair of his inaugural committee—about sending the nuclear tech to Saudi Arabia. Cummings also wrote that the committee had obtained documents that appeared to show Bannon receiving messages to his personal email from Barrack about the idea of sending the nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. 

"These communications appear to be sent while Mr. Bannon worked at the White House in order to inform Mr. Bannon's official work relating to developing 'broader middle east policy,'" the letter read. 

Cummings's letter suggested the "communications raise questions about whether these officials complied with the Presidential Records Act and whether the White House identified this personal email use during its internal review and took steps to address it." 

A House Oversight report in February alleged that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pushed a plan to sell tech for nuclear power plants to Saudia Arabia, which led to concerns from ethics officials. The letter was full of items that made news Thursday, including a claim that Abbe Lowell, lawyer to White House adviser Jared Kushner, said that Kushner "has used—and continues to use—WhatsApp as part of his official duties in the White House."

Lowell said, according to the letter, that Kushner wasn't violating records preservation laws because he sends screenshots to his official White House email address. 

In the letter, Cummings requested further documents and information by April 4, including information on officials who used personal email addresses, text messages, messaging services or encryption software to conduct official business.

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