Skip to main content

‘On it!’: Kushner Email Shows Manafort Recommends Bank Exec Who Approved His Loan for Gov’t Position


A new email reveals that Paul Manafort was in contact with President Donald Trump‘s son-in-law Jared Kushner about Federal Savings Bank CEO Stephen Calk.

Calk has come to be known as the bank executive who approved a multi-mullion dollar loan for Manafort and ended up with a position on an economic advisory council for the Trump campaign, raising questions by the government as to whether pay-to-play was afoot. It became clear that Calk was not just interested in the economic advisor role. He also had his eye on Secretary of the Army.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow has tweeted out a copy of an email chain from November 30, 2016 (at this point Trump was president-elect). It shows Manafort, who left the Trump campaign in August of that year, forwarded resumes of three people to be a part of the Trump Administration. This was sent to Jared Kushner.

In the email, Manafort describes Calk as “an active supporter of [the] campaign since April” and pointed to his 40 television interviews in support of the Trump agenda.

Manafort said it was Calk’s “preference” for Secretary of the Army.

Kushner replied simply with, “On it!”

Calk has been a polarizing figure at the Manafort trial. On the one hand, the government has argued that Calk’s approval of a $9.5 million loan defrauded the bank. On the other hand, Manafort’s defense and Judge T.S. Ellis III agreed that an argument could be made that Calk’s statements were not “material.” The reason being that Calk knew Manafort’s “representations were false” and he approved the loan anyway because of political ambitions as described above.

The judge said the defense made a compelling argument that the testimony should not be allowed into evidence, but nonetheless denied their motion to acquit Manafort on Tuesday.

The first major mention of Stephen Calk came when he was discussed in the same breath as the Trump campaign. It was the first time the Trump campaign had been referenced more specifically than “a presidential campaign.”

Calk and Manafort were in communication about a possible position on the Trump campaign, which Calk eventually got in the form of an economic advisory council spot. There were some questions raised about how the CEO of the Federal Savings Bank in Chicago was named to this position in August 2016.

Manafort left the Trump campaign that same month but Rick Gates, who testified against Manafort, stayed on. Prosecutors named Calk in the context of the campaign because of a possible pay-to-play scenario. Calk doled out a $9.5 million mortgage to Manafort despite risks and was rewarded. Prosecutors alleged that this was due to Calk’s other ambitions.

Now there’s a little bit of new insight into how Calk hoped to reach those heights.

Also of note:

[Image via Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime:

Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.