Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, got two large loans for his family real estate business previous year after executives began visiting the White House, according to a Wednesday report.
Had Trump at the outset been forced to separate himself from his financial holdings and require Kushner to do the same, Trump might have avoided what we now have - the appearance of a corrupt family more akin to a Third World autocracy than a democratic government.
Those loans - $184 million received from Apollo Global Management in fall 2017, and $325 million from Citigroup in the spring that same year - were received some time after Kushner met with top executives from those companies at the White House.
A spokesman for Kushner, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said no concern had been raised with Kushner about his security clearance and the White House's new security clearance policy did not affect Kushner's ability to do his job.
Kushner lost that top-secret security clearance last week, following White House chief of staff John Kelly's move to clamp down on the process that had allowed scores of officials to operate under similar temporary authorizations.
Kushner's relations with foreign government officials is a key reason why he's been unable to obtain permanent security clearance, the Washington Postreported on Tuesday.
The White House insists that Kushner's job will be unaffected by this week's downgrade to his security clearance.
Often seen by Mr Trump's side during key moments of worldwide diplomacy and presidential announcements during much of 2017, Mr Kushner accompanied Mr Trump on trips to Asia, the Middle East and Europe, meeting with officials in each place.
In both cases, there was no direct proof of a quid-pro-quo relationship between Kushner and the two executives approving his loans, The Times noted.
She said Citigroup negotiated the 2017 loan with Kushner Cos'. business partner, a real estate developer. "I never thought about it".
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that officials in at least four countries had privately discussed ways they could manipulate Kushner by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience.
There is little precedent for a top White House official meeting with executives of companies as they contemplate sizable loans to his business, say government ethics experts.
Kushner's lawyer Abbe Lowell confirmed the development to United States website Politico. Kushner steers US policy in the Middle East, for example, but his family company continues to do deals with Israeli investors.
Kushner, who is married to Trumps eldest daughter Ivanka, had access to the Presidents Daily Brief, a secret intelligence report. The form also shows that Mr. Kushner has a line of credit with Deutsche Bank worth between $5 million and $25 million.
We don't know whether he had any role during the campaign in soliciting help from or working in concert with Russians to sway the election, although he did attend - along with Paul Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. - the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with a Kremlin-linked lawyer.
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