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Report: Kellyanne Conway apologized to Donald Trump over ‘free commercial’ controversy

Counselor to President Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway speaks during a television interview with the White House in the background, in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway reportedly apologized to President Donald Trump after her comments about Ivanka Trump's clothing line landed her in hot water with the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Committee.

According to a senior White House official who spoke with CNN, Trump also held a meeting with Conway over the issue, telling her that he backed her up "completely." Other sources who spoke to the Associated Press said Trump also expressed unhappiness at the way White House press secretary Sean Spicer handled the matter in his Thursday White House briefing, when he told media reporters that Conway had been "counseled" on the matter. According to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Trump believed Spicer's word choice was "unfair" and made it sound like Conway was in trouble.

Conway also tweeted Friday about the matter, insisting that Trump stands behind her. "POTUS supports me, and millions of Americans support him & his agenda," she tweeted.

After news surfaced of both Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus dropping Ivanka Trump's clothing line, Conway urged the public to purchase Ivanka's merchandise. "Go buy Ivanka's stuff, is what I would tell you," Conway said from the White House press room during a Fox News interview. "It's a wonderful line. I own some of it. I fully — I'm going to just, I'm going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online."

Numerous federal ethics experts have said that Conway violated federal ethics law by publicly promoting Ivanka's company. Former Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu referred to what he said was the specific violation, tweeting out a picture of the ethics guidelines and highlighting the subsection that said, "An employee shall not use his public office for his own private gain, endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives."

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, penned a joint letter with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) to the Office of Government Ethics requesting an ethics review. OGE is not an enforcement agency and serves only to advise federal employees, and because Conway only reports to the president, the decision to reprimand her rests with Trump himself.

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