White House officials have been looking into whether $500 million in loans that went to Trump administration senior adviser Jaredmay have spurred ethics or criminal law violations, according to the head of the federal government's ethics agency.
David J. Apol, acting director of the Office of Government Ethics, said in a letter sent late last week to Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi that the White House Counsel's office told him that officials were probing theand whether "additional procedures are necessary to avoid violations in the future."
Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat, had asked Apol on March 1 about a New York Times report in February that Kushner Cos. accepted $184 million in loans from Apollo Global Management and $325 million from Citigroup last year over a span of several months after Kushner met with officials from the two firms. As President Donald Trump's son-in-law and key adviser, Kushner plays an influential role in domestic and foreign policy decisions.
In a statement from Kushner attorney Abbe Lowell to CBS News early Tuesday, Lowell says he confirms White House counsel has concluded there were "no issues involving Jared."
"I have confirmed that after news articles misstated the circumstances around some Kushner Company transactions, the White House counsel concluded there was were no issues involving Jared. He was not involved with his former company after he entered government service; the transactions in question came after that; he had nothing to do with those transactions; the transactions had nothing to do with any of his meetings in the White House, and the people from the companies involved have confirmed that as well," the statement said.
A Kushner Companies spokeswoman later told CBS News with regards to the OGE report, "We have not received an inquiry."
Both companies have insisted their officials did nothing wrong in meeting with Kushner. In one case cited by the Times, Citigroup lent $325 million to Kushner Cos. in spring 2017 shortly after Kushner met with Citi's chief executive, Michael Corbat. Last week, Citigroup's general counsel told several Democratic lawmakers in a letter that the loan was "completely appropriate."
In a second case, Kushner met several times with Apollo co-founder Joshua Harris and discussed a possible White House job — followed by Apollo's loan of $184 million to the Kushner family firm. An Apollo spokesman previously told The Associated Press that Harris "never discussed with Jared Kushner a loan, investment, or any other business arrangement or regulatory matter involving Apollo."
In a separate letter last week to Democratic lawmakers, an Apollo official added that "to our knowledge, Jared Kushner did not play any role on behalf of Kushner Companies with respect" to the loan.
In the letter to Krishnamoorthi, Apol responded to several of her questions about Kushner's conduct during the period when his family's real estate firm received the two loans. Apol was careful not to offer legal opinions on Kushner's behavior, instead noting that "the White House is in a position to ascertain the relevant facts related to possible violations and is responsible for monitoring compliance with ethics requirements."
Apol said he raised those questions with White House officials "to ensure that they have begun the process of ascertaining to determine whether any law or regulation has been violated." During the conversations, "the White House informed me that they had already begun this process," he said.
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