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Israel writes: "A White House spokesman offered a non-denial and a curious explanation for why Trump confidant Carl Icahn dumped millions of dollars worth of steel-related stock just before the president announced new tariffs."

Carl Icahn. (photo: Getty Images)
Carl Icahn. (photo: Getty Images)

White House Spokesman Does Not Deny That Carl Icahn Was Tipped Off

By Josh Israel, ThinkProgress

12 March 18

A curious non-explanation from Raj Shah.

White House spokesman offered a non-denial and a curious explanation for why Trump confidant Carl Icahn dumped millions of dollars worth of steel-related stock just before the president announced new tariffs.

As ThinkProgress initially reported, billionaire investor and close Trump confidant Carl Icahn sold $31.3 million of stock in a company heavily dependent on steel in late February, just days before Trump’s surprise announcement on plans to impose steep tariffs on steel imports. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dodged questions about whether Trump had tipped Icahn off, promising to “verify and get back to” a reporter.

On Sunday, ABC News host Jon Karl repeated the question to Huckabee Sanders’ principal deputy, Raj Shah, who responded by saying equally little.

“I don’t know of any call,” Shah answered.

He then suggested that Icahn might have made the determination to suddenly sell the stock based on the fact that Trump has been talking about taking action for a really long time. “I do think that Mr. Icahn and any investor could have looked at what the president has been saying for not just months but years about this issue, to understand where he was at.” Of course, none of Trump’s previous protectionist statements noted a March 1, 2018 date of action.


Last week, Icahn issued a statement defending the sales, claiming, “Any suggestion that we had prior knowledge of the Trump administration’s announcement of new tariffs on steel imports is categorically untrue.”

James Cox, a Duke Law professor and expert on insider trading, told ThinkProgress at the time that Ichan’s statement was “perfectly predictable, perfectly bland and devoid of anything other than conclusory statements,” likening it to a suspected bank robber caught with a bag full of money saying, “I have all this cash because I found it on the street.” He noted that while Icahn could be telling the truth, more investigation is needed.

Shah’s statement on Sunday did little clear up those questions. your social media marketing partner


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+2 # Jim Young 2018-03-12 10:18
"Did I do that"? - Steve Urkel on Family Matters
+8 # 1solartopia 2018-03-12 10:21
of course this happened. who else did trump tip off beforehand? how much "commission" poured into his pockets?
+11 # lotuslover 2018-03-12 10:24
Can someone remind me (and Carl Icahn) just how long was Martha Stewart's prison term? And was it in a "country club" setting?
-18 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-03-12 10:57
Carl Ichan has been doing this for 50 years. I wonder what he really did. This does not sound like the full story. The stock market has jumped up to record levels. Ichan must have moved his money into a stock that was about to jump even higher. That's what casino capitalists do. To suggest that there was some insider knowledge traded between Trump and Ichan is just silly. It is just stirring shit. Ichan has plenty of sources for information that would be a lot better than Trump.
+1 # LionMousePudding 2018-03-12 18:10
Does it matter whose lips the words came which were uttered into Ichan's ear? Trump made the decision to tariff, chose a date, x x x and someone told Ichan, who dumped the stock. What is your point?
+1 # Michaeljohn 2018-03-12 19:05
The tip didn't have to come from Trump. Any WhiteHouse staffer would do as well. Icahn is astute enough to cultivate a contact within the WH.

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