Republican Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker was reportedly a contender to become President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state, but internal documents provided by a Trump confidant reveal that insider trading allegations hurt Corker’s chances for being picked for the role.
Additionally, two sources close to the Trump transition process told The Daily Caller that Sen. Corker’s short stature was a trait the president-elect did not want in his top diplomat.
The documents provided to TheDC were crafted before and after the time Sen. Corker was also being considered to become Trump’s vice president. One of them is titled, “Bob Corker: Mixing Public Service with Personal Profit.”
This document includes details about news reports of Sen. Corker’s investments into companies owned by donors and friends of the Tennessee senator. “While they have not commented publicly on the case, investigators appear to be looking into whether Corker’s trades may have been based on inside information,” the document said about an FBI and SEC investigation reported by The Wall Street Journal into Chattanooga real estate company CBL & Associates.
The document goes on to say, “Some of the transactions in question involved CBL, but they were not the only firm with long ties to Corker where he appears to have hidden the degree of his involvement.”
It states that there is a “concern” that Corker’s investments into two Chattanooga hedge funds founded by donors and friends of Corker were based on “privileged information that Corker obtains as a Senator.”
Corker’s relationship with Chattanooga businessman Henry Luken also raised eyebrows for the Trump team. “Best known as a communications magnate, Luken acquired the lion’s share of Corker’s failing real estate empire from him in 2006, while Corker was running for Congress and just before the credit crunch sparked by the financial crisis,” the document states. “As a result of the sale of the highly leveraged assets, Corker not only avoided the subsequent calamity, but he was given the liquidity he urgently needed to fund his own campaign.”
It goes on to state that, “while in the Senate, Corker has pursued a series of agenda items that have advanced Luken’s business interests. He sent letters to the FCC urging regulatory changes that would protect the profits of Luken’s scores of low-power TV stations and broadcast networks.”
“Corker also spent years as mayor and senator encouraging Volkswagen to build a massive plant in Chattanooga, which inflated the value of several of Luken’s nearby properties,” the document says.
This is not the only mention of the Volkswagen plant in the internal documents. Sen. Corker’s chief of staff Todd Womack’s real estate company Generation 4 Properties was covered in a document from late September.
“Five houses belonging to Generation 4 Properties are less than six miles from the Volkswagen plant,” the document states. It goes on to say that Womack bought a property near the Volkswagen factory three days before an expansion was announced and that since Womack was with Corker in Germany during the announcement, “Womack bought this property with insider knowledge of the plant’s imminent expansion.”
Outside of the more substantive worries about Sen. Corker, two sources with knowledge of the transition say that the Tennessee senator’s short stature was a key factor. According to Google, Corker is 5’7″.
A Trump transition spokesman did not return a request for comment. Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson’s height is unknown. According to Google, Russian President Vladimir Putin is 5’7″ like Corker and photos show Tillerson is several inches taller than the Russian president.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday on attractiveness being a key factor for Trump’s choices for cabinet positions. They said people close to Trump thought that former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton’s mustache was a factor holding him back from becoming secretary of state. A Trump associate told the Post, “I can’t think of anyone that’s really close to Donald that has a beard that he likes.”
See the documents: