Members of the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot have a tough problem on their hands: They’d like Thursday’s televised prime-time hearing to have some appeal beyond C-SPAN obsessives and the handful of people who actually subscribed to CNN+. But since most Americans feel they have an adequate sense of an event they lived through 18 months ago, the panel needs a splashier hook than “reality-TV star turned president tries to subvert American democracy.”
Last week, ABC News reported that the panel had found a “blockbuster witness” for the hearings: J. Michael Luttig. The conservative legal luminary who advised Vice-President Mike Pence that he shouldn’t help Donald Trump steal the 2020 election is certainly a good get if you’re looking to raise the eyebrows of Republican elites. But he’s not the type of witness who Scarlett Johansson will be playing in a Saturday Night Live sketch.
Thankfully for the panel, they’ve got the star-power thing covered. Well, sort of. The Washington Post reported over the weekend that the televised hearings may feature recorded testimony from Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner:
Although the committee has not made a final decision, people familiar with the investigation believe the panel will screen footage of testimony from Ivanka Trump and Kushner — including Trump’s account of her father’s actions in the West Wing on Jan. 6.
“Everybody will pay attention when Jared and Ivanka talk on video. It doesn’t matter how damning the presentations are,” said a person close to the investigation.
What Ivanka and Jared actually said might be a bit underwhelming. The Post suggests it might be yet another take on the classic fable “we tried to get Daddy to be reasonable, but he just wouldn’t listen!”:
Accounts from panel members and testimony released in court filings depict a daughter who was in and out of her father’s presence while the Capitol was under siege, repeatedly attempting to get him to respond to the violence.
Former Trump national security adviser Keith Kellogg told investigators during his December appearance before the committee that, on the day after the riot, he had told Ivanka that he “appreciated what she did that day and by talking to her dad. And I said: ‘You know, I just thought what you did was to me pretty heroic.’ And she said: ‘Well, my dad’s stubborn.’ And I said: ‘Your whole family’s stubborn.’ ”
Still, the couple certainly get people talking, whether they’re hawking Goya beans, trying and failing to bring peace to the Middle East, or even simply minding their own business in Florida. It’s just a shame that SNL’s already off for the summer.
More on january 6 hearings
- Ivanka Trump Gave the January 6 Panel What It Needed
- The January 6 Hearings Exposed Trump’s Criminality. Will It Matter?
- Turns Out the Secret Service Repeatedly Defied Trump on January 6