Kushner loses top-secret security status

Hope Hicks

According to The New York Times, Kushner, a senior White House adviser, met with the co-founder of private equity firm Apollo Global Management, Joshua Harris, and the chief executive of banking giant Citigroup, Michael L. Corbat, before Kushner Companies received a combined $509 million from them.

Kushner Companies also purchased parts of the former New York Times building in Manhattan from Lev Leviev, an Israeli-Russian oligarch - who the government has prosecuted for money laundering.

Spokespeople for Apollo and Citigroup asserted that the loans to Kushner Companies were unrelated to Jared Kushner's White House meetings with their respective executives.

Citigroup spokeswoman Danielle Romero-Apsilos told the Times Kushner Cos had been a bank client since before the election and that the relationship had no connection to Kushner's White House role.

"According to what I know, there are other individuals at the same level as Mr. Kushner's whose security certificates have been delayed".

Kushner's ties with his business activities while being a part of the Trump administration has been the topic of contention since he was hired by the president as White House innovations director in January 2017.

It was one of the largest loans Kushner Cos. received a year ago.

Harris was tapped to advise Trump officials on infrastructure - but also had several sitdowns with Kushner where the two men talked about a possible White House job for Harris, The Times reported.

One Menorah Mivtachim executive who helped the negotiate the deal with CEO of Kushner Companies, Laurent Morali, told the Jerusalem Post last month that there was no conflict of interest and that Kushner had many business dealings with Israeli partners. There is no evidence the meetings were about Kushner's finances, the Times reported, but the meetings raise significant ethics questions.

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Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Kushner's lawyer Abbe Lowell, said Kushner has had no role in Kushner Cos since joining the government.

Since the beginning of the Trump administration, both Mr Kushner, 37, and his wife, Ms Ivanka Trump, the President's eldest daughter, 36, have enjoyed a special status within the White House as both family members and assistants to the President.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn issued a document request to Kushner Cos. for information about that loan in November of past year, the Journal reported in December.

In recent days, it has emerged that Kushner's White House security clearance has been downgraded.

Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump, was repeatedly forced to amend his security application forms over the past year due to his global dealings.

Lingering doubts around the omissions, Kushner's meetings, and other concerns had some effect on Kushner's federal background check, which has been ongoing for more than a year, forcing him to work with an interim security clearance in the meantime.

DFS Superintendent Maria Vullo, an appointee of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has asked for the banks to reply to her request by Monday, March 5, said the person familiar with the letters.

But Kushner Companies' spokeswoman said they'd received no letter from the state and called the inquiries "harassment exclusively for political reasons".

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