Clyburn Seeks Trump Presidential Records After New Evidence Suggests White House Role in Approving Questionable National Security Loan
Washington, D.C. (October 6, 2021) — Yesterday, Rep. James E. Clyburn, Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, sent a letter to David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, requesting Trump White House records from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) regarding a $700 million loan made to trucking company YRC Worldwide, now named Yellow Corporation (Yellow). Distributed under a Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act program, the loan was created to offset losses caused by the pandemic from businesses deemed critical to maintaining U.S. national security. The letter follows new evidence obtained by the Select Subcommittee on the role former Trump White House officials may have played in Yellow obtaining the federal funds.
Chairman Clyburn wrote:
“Troubling reports have called into question Yellow’s eligibility for and use of those funds and raised concerns that the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) under the Trump Administration improperly approved this substantial national security loan to Yellow. The Select Subcommittee has obtained new evidence indicating that former White House officials may have been involved in helping Yellow to obtain this loan. Accordingly, we write to you to request Presidential archives necessary for the Select Subcommittee to conduct its investigation.”
On June 3, 2021, the Select Subcommittee launched an investigation into the Trump Administration’s approval of the national security loan to Yellow following concerns about the company’s eligibility for the loan and its use of loan funds. Despite a CARES Act requirement that companies awarded national security loans must have been “critical to maintaining national security,” reports have called into question whether Yellow met this standard. Further, despite an additional CARES Act requirement that loans only be made to cover “losses incurred as a result of the coronavirus,” evidence suggests that Yellow used much of its loan to make long-term capital investments.
New evidence obtained by the Select Subcommittee raises concerns about whether the loan was approved following direct intervention from the Trump White House:
An email indicates that former Deputy Assistant to the President Tim Pataki “committed to huddle with [White House political director] Brian Jack and then he would call Treasury on [Yellow’s] behalf.”
An email shows that Special Assistant to the President Joseph Russo later asked Yellow to specifically identify the company’s contacts at Treasury.
Multiple emails show that Yellow had continued contact with other White House offices and officials—including the Chief of Staff to National Economic Council (NEC) Director Larry Kudlow—as it sought a loan from Treasury, and Yellow’s representatives reported that the “White House remains engaged and has been calling for updates frequently.”
This new evidence of White House involvement is consistent with public records showing that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sent messages to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, and President Trump’s personal assistant concerning the announcement of the loan to Yellow.
Any involvement by the former White House and advisor Jared Kushner in Yellow obtaining this national security loan could present a troubling conflict of interest. Yellow received a $600 million lifeline loan shortly before the pandemic from Apollo Global Management LLC (Apollo), a firm that made a $184 million loan to Kushner’s family business earlier in his White House tenure. Shortly after the passage of the CARES Act, Apollo reportedly emailed Kushner advocating for reduced risk requirements in a separate pandemic loan program from which Apollo stood to benefit, suggesting that Apollo may also have lobbied Kushner to influence the process for approving the loan to Yellow.
Chairman Clyburn continued:
“The Select Subcommittee’s review of Trump Administration White House records is necessary to determine whether White House officials pressured or directed Treasury to disregard CARES Act requirements related to Yellow’s eligibility for and use of national security loan funds.”
Under the Presidential Records Act, archived White House documents are controlled by NARA. Chairman Clyburn requested that NARA provide all documents regarding the contract with Yellow by November 5, 2021.
Read today’s letter to David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States.