According to an indictment that was unsealed on Thursday, bank CEO Stephen Calk offered millions of dollars in loans to Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort in exchange for a senior role in the new administration, Bloomberg reports. Manhattan federal prosecutors are charging that Calk bribed Manafort with $16 million in loans in exchange for potential placement in any number of senior roles including secretary of defense, secretary of the army, and secretary of the treasury. Also allegedly on the table were a number of desirable ambassadorships.
Shortly after Donald Trump was elected president, Manafort wrote in an email a request for a “major appointment” for Calk.
“On it!” Kushner replied.
The exchange between the two men was admitted last year as evidence during Manafort’s tax fraud trial, but took on new context and significance with the unsealing of the indictment this week.
Peter Mirijanian, who is a spokesman for Kushner’s attorney, Abbe Lowell, had declined to comment.
As CNN reported, although Manafort is not identified by name in the indictment, he easily fits the description of the borrower referenced throughout. That borrower is described as having been chairman of a presidential campaign between June and August of 2016. In addition, a connection between Calk and Manafort was already made in the course of Manafort’s previous trial in Virginia.
The indictment goes into detail about the specifics of the arrangement.
Paul Manafort wrote to Jared Kushner asking for consideration of a “major appointment’’ for his banker, Steven Calk.
Kushner's reply: “On it!”
— Tim O'Brien (@TimOBrien) May 23, 2019
“As alleged, Stephen M. Calk abused the power entrusted to him as the top official of a federally insured bank by approving millions of dollars in high-risk loans in an effort to secure a personal benefit, namely an appointment as Secretary of the Army or another similarly high-level position in the incoming presidential administration,” it reads in part. Also included is that Calk’s alleged request for an appointment was ultimately unsuccessful and that the loans in question were eventually downgraded by banking regulators.
Manafort is accused of pursuing a series of loans, including one for $6.5 million, which was requested with an indication that “the clock is ticking.” Later that day, Manafort recommended Calk for consideration to a senior member of the executive committee of Trump’s transition team.
“The next day, Transition Official-1 forwarded this recommendation to three other representatives” prosecutors wrote, indicating that Calk’s name was added to a spreadsheet of individuals under consideration for senior positions.
The indictment also references another transition official who likewise advocated on behalf of Calk, suggesting that others close to the president may be facing pressure from prosecutors now or in the future.