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New Documents Show Kushner Role with Banker Who Loaned Manafort Millions

Sep 21, 2018
Press Release
Top Dems Now Seek Info from White House

Washington, D.C. (Sept. 21, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Stephen Lynch, the Ranking Member of the National Security Subcommittee, sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly requesting documents relating to efforts by senior White House officials—including Jared Kushner—to secure a high-level position for Steve Calk, the CEO of The Federal Savings Bank, as part of an apparent quid pro quo for providing millions of dollars in loans to President Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The Members made their request in light of new documents released by federal prosecutors in the criminal trial of Manafort:

  • On November 30, 2016, Manafort sent an email to Kushner recommending Calk for a “major appointment” in the Trump Administration, along with two other candidates.  Manafort wrote that Calk “should be a part of the Trump Administration.”  He also wrote that Calk supported Trump “before the nomination was secured,” was “active in the campaign,” would “advance DT agenda,” and “will be totally reliable and responsive to the Trump White House.”  Manafort offered a strong endorsement of Calk and recommended him for the Secretary of the Army position.
  • Kushner sent an email back the same day, stating:  “On it!”
  • Manafort sent another email on November 24, 2016, to Rick Gates—who has now pleaded guilty to charges involving his role as Manafort’s deputy—writing that they needed “to discuss Steve Calk for Sec of Army” because Manafort had heard “the list is being considered this weekend.”

“These documents raise significant questions about the actions Mr. Kushner or others took in response to Mr. Manafort’s request,” the Ranking Members wrote.  “Mr. Manafort had been fired from the Trump campaign months earlier and was the subject of a publicly-known FBI investigation, yet Mr. Kushner responded on the same day appearing to agree to take swift action.  However, the documents do not include any information about the actions of Mr. Kushner or others he may have communicated with about this matter.”

In response to multiple reports that the Bank provided up to $16 million in loans to Manafort “as part of a quid pro quo arrangement to secure Mr. Calk a job in Mr. Trump’s Administration,” a spokesman for Manafort initially denied any wrongdoing, stating:  “Paul Manafort’s loan from Federal Savings Bank is an arms-length transaction and sufficiently over-collateralized.  Surely the loan represents a fraction of the bank’s total loan book, but that is a question for the bank and its loan committee.”

On April 12, 2018, Cummings and Lynch requested information directly from the Bank, but the Bank responded with only a single document—a copy of the Special Counsel’s already public Superseding Indictment against Mr. Manafort—arguing that the “news media speculation is false” and that “the bank was a victim of Manafort’s fraudulent conduct.”

Cummings and Lynch asked Gowdy to subpoena the Bank, but he declined.  They also asked him to place a subpoena motion on the agenda for the Committee’s next business meeting, but he declined that request as well.  Republicans blocked all consideration of subpoena motions at the markup.

“For the past six months, we have been trying, with limited success, to obtain information about these serious allegations, but our efforts have been frustrated by the refusal of Republicans on the Committee to conduct any investigation at all,” the Ranking Members wrote.  “Chairman Trey Gowdy not only refused all of our requests to obtain documents, but he also blocked all of our efforts to bring this matter before the Committee to allow Members to vote for themselves on whether to investigate.”

Cummings and Lynch also wrote to the Defense Department, which disclosed that, just eight days after President Trump’s election, the Army’s Chief of Staff engaged Calk at a luncheon in Chicago, and Calk contacted the Army “sometime in November of 2016 regarding the confirmation process in general.” However, the Defense Department did not explain why Calk was inquiring about the confirmation process, and it apparently focused only on Calk’s communications with the Department of the Army, rather than all Pentagon elements.

Click here to read today’s letter.

115th Congress