WASHINGTON—Confirming the administration had launched a Justice Department investigation into the U.S. secretary of the interior’s conduct, the White House revealed Friday that it was concerned Ryan Zinke had made a land deal without giving a cut to President Trump. “Mounting evidence indicates that Secretary Zinke may have acted improperly by making money off of a private land development deal without letting President Trump wet his beak,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, confirming that Zinke’s role in the development of a business and retail park near land in Montana that he and his wife own may have run afoul of White House rules for skimming some profits off the top for the president. “At no time did Mr. Zinke inform us about which Trump Organization bank account he would be depositing the president’s kickback into, nor have we received an envelope full of unmarked bills slipped under the Oval Office door. We are extremely disappointed that the secretary would use his office to enrich himself without also enriching the president.” White House officials added that while they were committed to investigating Zinke for potential impropriety, they wanted to reassure Americans that the vast majority of federal employees always followed protocol in giving a cut of the profits from their private-sector hustles to the president.

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