Is the White House Counsel's Office looking into Kushner? The answer isn't clear
CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 3/28/2018, 7:11 a.m.
By Cristina Alesci and Dan Merica, CNN
(CNN) -- After White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday the White House is "not probing whether Jared Kushner violated the law," questions remain about what exactly the White House Counsel's Office is looking into, with respect to President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser.
"While the White House Counsel's Office does follow up with staff to assist with compliance with various ethics standards, it is not probing whether Jared Kushner violated the law," Sanders said during her daily briefing. "The White House indicated to (the Office of Government Ethics) that we are aware of news reports and would proceed as appropriate."
CNN asked the White House press office to clarify whether that meant the White House Counsel's Office was looking into the possibility Kushner violated ethics rules and regulations. A spokesperson told CNN the White House is not going to add anything more to Sanders' statement.
On Monday, the Office of Government Ethics released a letter sent to a Democratic congressman, wherein the agency's acting director David Apol said the White House Counsel's Office is looking into whether Kushner violated any ethics regulations or laws when he met with business entities that later loaned more than $500 million to his family business.
In the letter, Apol said: "The White House informed me that they had already begun this process. I have asked the White House to inform me of the results of that process."
Earlier on Tuesday, Kushner's attorney, Abbe Lowell, said the White House concluded there "were no issues involving Jared." Lowell didn't respond to follow-up questions about when he had received that assurance from the White House.
Lowell's statement suggests the White House cleared Kushner of any wrongdoing or inappropriate behavior after news broke about the meetings in late February. He added that the stories about the meetings, which The New York Times first reported, "misstated the circumstances around some of Kushner Company [sic] transactions."
It's unclear how that timing aligns with the Office of Government Ethics' own correspondence and discussion with the White House.
A source familiar with the matter told CNN the Office of Government Ethics has not yet heard from the White House Counsel's office regarding whether Kushner violated any laws or ethics rules and regulations.