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Scaramucci tells banker trial jury about Trump’s transition

Chicago banker Stephen Calk, left, leaves Federal court in New York, Thursday, June 24, 2021. He is on trial on charges he tried to buy himself a senior post in former President Donald Trump's administration by making risky loans to Trump onetime campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) — Anthony Scaramucci recalled for a jury Thursday his role in filling jobs in former President Donald Trump’s administration as he testified against a Chicago banker, saying he never would have considered the man for a job if he knew he was giving $16 million in loans to Trump’s ex-campaign manager.

Scaramucci, 57, was testifying for the government in its case against Stephen Calk, the former chief executive of The Federal Savings Bank who has pleaded not guilty to financial institution bribery and conspiracy charges.

Answering questions from a prosecutor for an hour, Scaramucci said he had not known Calk before he was recommended for key positions in Trump’s administration by Paul Manafort after Trump was elected to the presidency in November 2016.

Manafort, who served as Trump’s campaign manager for a key stretch from June to early August 2016, reached out to Scaramucci in mid-to-late December 2016 to encourage him to consider Calk for an important post in Trump’s administration, Scaramucci said.

Scaramucci said Manafort never mentioned he was trying to get $16 million in loans from Calk’s bank for real estate ventures. If he had, Scaramucci said, he never would have considered Calk for a post.

After speaking with Calk on the phone on Dec. 27, 2016, Scaramucci received a series of text messages from Calk in the following days asking him about prospects for a Trump Tower interview for various positions, the witness recalled.

“I indicated to him I was doing my best to get him the interview that was requested but I also indicated that there seemed to be other people in line for those jobs,” Scaramucci said.

In early January, Calk sent a message to Scaramucci asking if he was “still in the game,” according to court exhibits. In another two days later, he asked: “Hi Anthony. Any word at all?”

Prosecutors say Calk was pressing his bank’s loan committee and underwriters to give Manafort the loans he needed as he pressed for Trump administration jobs that he never got, including secretary of the Army.

Calk’s attorney, Paul Schoeman, said a day earlier in opening statements that his client did nothing illegal because the approval of the loans was not dependent on him and because they seemed like a great deal for the bank at a time when Manafort was viewed as a wealthy and successful “rock star in the world of politics.”

Besides serving on Trump’s transition team, Scaramucci also served briefly in July 2017 as the White House communications director.

During his testimony, he described sitting next to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani on election night 2016 when the first results came in from Florida.

He said Giuliani “turned to me and said: ‘It’s very likely now that Mr. Trump is going to win the election.”

Scaramucci is scheduled to resume testimony on Tuesday. As he left the courthouse, he declined to comment on the trial or anything else as he quipped: “That’s unusual for me, right?”

Recently, he has often had harsh words for Trump, even tweeting early this year: “Republican elected officials still supporting Trump need to be tried alongside of him for treason.”


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