Democrats Seek White House Documents on Manafort Banker Stephen Calk
(Bloomberg) -- Two Democratic congressmen have sent a letter to the White House requesting documents relating to efforts by senior White House officials -- including senior adviser Jared Kushner -- to secure a high-level position for a Chicago banker who lent $16 million to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Representative Elijah E. Cummings, the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Representative Stephen Lynch, the ranking member of the National Security Subcommittee, are asking for information related to Stephen Calk, the chief executive officer of the Federal Savings Bank.
Calk is also under scrutiny by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for a bank fraud conspiracy and other unspecified crimes, prosecutors have said. Calk is suspected of plotting with Manafort to defraud his own bank when he pushed approval of the loans in hopes of winning a senior post in President Donald Trump’s administration, the prosecutors said.
Calk couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. “We’re fully cooperating with the special counsel’s office, and in fairness to both sides we cannot make any comment at this time,’’ he said in a Bloomberg interview in August.
Manafort turned to Kushner for help in an attempt to secure a job for Calk, according to testimony in Manafort’s trial on bank and tax-fraud charges.
“On it!’’ Kushner replied on Nov. 30, 2016, according to an email submitted by prosecutors into evidence.
The email shows how Manafort, who resigned from the campaign in August 2016, reached into Trump’s inner circle for help, without success.
Calk pitched himself to Manafort as a Trump loyalist who could run the U.S. Army or serve in a senior position in the Treasury or Commerce departments. Manafort then sought help from Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law. Kushner became a central figure in the transition and later in the White House. Calk didn’t get a government job.
Documents released as part of Manafort’s trial prompted the request for additional information from the White House, according to the lawmakers.
“These documents raise significant questions about the actions Mr. Kushner or others took in response to Mr. Manafort’s request,” the Democrats wrote in their letter. “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.”
Two White House spokesmen didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking comment. Abbe Lowell, Kushner’s attorney, also couldn’t be reached.
Calk, who owns at least 80 percent of the bank with his brother, served as an economic adviser to Trump’s campaign. He hasn’t been charged.
Manafort was convicted Aug. 21 on eight counts in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia. Jurors deadlocked on 10 other charges, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial on those counts, including four relating to Federal Savings Bank.
Manafort pleaded guilty in Washington last week, agreeing to cooperate in Mueller’s investigation. Prosecutors agreed to drop the 10 open counts in Virginia at the end of Manafort’s cooperation. But he admitted that he engaged in the conduct, including defrauding Federal Savings Bank.
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