White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied on Tuesday that the White House Counsel’s Office is investigating whether Jared Kushner violated any criminal or ethics laws when his real estate company received $500 million worth of loans after Kushner met with executives from two financial companies.
“The White House is not probing whether or not Jared Kushner violated the law,” Huckabee Sanders claimed.
David Apol, the acting director of the Office of Government Ethics, told Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) in a March 22 letter that the White House Counsel’s Office had informed him that they were investigating whether Kushner’s dealings were legal.
“I have discussed this matter with the White House Counsel’s Office in order to ensure that they have begun the process of ascertaining the facts necessary to determine whether any law or regulation has been violated,” Apol wrote in the letter that was released on Monday. “During that discussion, the White House informed me that they had already begun this process.”
On Monday evening, Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, also reportedly said in a carefully worded statement that “the White House counsel concluded there were no issues involving Jared.”
The New York Times previously reported that Apollo Global Management and Citigroup gave Kushner’s real estate company massive loans after its executives met with Kushner in the White House. Joshua Harris, Apollo’s head, reportedly gave Kushner’s company a $184 million loan after a White House meeting in which Harris also discussed a possible White House job opportunity. Citigroup, the Times reported, also gave Kushner’s company a $325 million loan after its CEO met with Kushner in the White House.
Both companies have claimed that the loans were appropriate.
On Monday evening, Krishnamoorthi told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that Apol’s revelation that the White House was investigating whether Kushner violated any laws “was a surprise” to him.
“So now we’re following up,” he continued, referring to “potential bribery laws in addition to ethical violations.”
He said the Democrats could take back the House in November and if the White House does not provide answers now, “they are going to be sought later as well.”
“The whole gist of it is a public official has to put national interests first, personal interests second,” Krishnamoorthi said. “And the whole question here with Jared Kushner is whether he reversed it and put his personal interests first at the expense of the public interest.”