When it comes to corrupting the executive branch of the U.S. government, few can hold a candle to America’s third largest bank.
By Pam Martens and Russ Martens of Wall Street on Parade
Last evening, the front page digital edition of the New York Times dropped another bombshell in what increasingly feels like a badly scripted daily soap opera that could perhaps be called “As the White House Turns” or “Days of Our Messed Up Lives.”
The Times report focused on big loans that were made to Jared Kushner’s family business by two financial firms after he met at the White House with executives from those firms. There was a $184 million loan from private equity firm Apollo. There was also a $325 million loan by mega Wall Street bank Citigroup shortly after a visit by Citigroup’s CEO Michael Corbat to Kushner’s office at the White House in the spring of 2017.
Despite nepotism laws governing the Executive Branch, Kushner is both the son-in-law to President Trump as well as a Senior Advisor. Despite White House ethics rules, Kushner continues to own a big chunk of Kushner Companies, the family’s sprawling real estate business. The Times’ article puts his ownership stake at “as much as $761 million.” The Times notes an additional conflict: that while Kushner is the point man for Middle East policy “his family company continues to do deals with Israeli investors.”
Kushner is also the fellow who, according to May 2017 reports in the Washington Post and New York Times, met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak to attempt to set up a secret back channel of communications with Russians when he was part of the Trump transition team. According to an intercepted communication by U.S. intelligence officials, Kislyak reported back to Russia that Kushner had suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities located in the U.S. for these secret chitchats. Despite this, Kushner amazingly continued to be allowed to review Top Secret documents as part of his Senior Advisor role to the President.
Kushner’s Top Secret clearance has now been stripped and according to media reports, is now less than that of the White House calligrapher.
Wall Street On Parade has extensively reported in the past on the dubious dealings of Citigroup in Washington. Citigroup is the bank that pressured the Bill Clinton administration into repealing the depression-era Glass-Steagall Act in 1999. That act had prevented Wall Street’s speculating investment banks and brokerage firms from owning commercial banks that take in FDIC insured deposits in order to prevent another 1929-1932 style Wall Street crash. Just nine years after the repeal of Glass-Steagall, Wall Street experienced another epic crash, with Citigroup playing a major role in the contagion. Citigroup received the largest taxpayer bailout in U.S. history, taking in $45 billion in equity from the U.S. Treasury; a government guarantee on $300 billion of Citigroup’s dubious assets; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) guaranteed $5.75 billion of its senior unsecured debt and $26 billion of its commercial paper and interbank deposits; and the Federal Reserve secretly funneled $2.5 trillion in almost zero-interest loans to units of Citigroup between 2007 and 2010.
Citigroup was created by the merger of Citicorp (parent of Citibank) and Travelers Group (which owned the Wall Street investment bank Salomon Brothers and the brokerage firm Smith Barney). It would not have been allowed to exist but for the largess of the Clinton administration. And the Clintons needed a lot of financial help when they exited the White House. In a June 9, 2014 interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, Hillary Clinton said this: “We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt. We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea’s education. You know, it was not easy.”
One institution that had big confidence in the Clintons’ future earning power was Citigroup…