early and often

Ivanka Trump Gave the January 6 Panel What It Needed

Video from Ivanka Trump’s deposition is played during a hearing by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

After recommending on Monday that the Justice Department criminally charge Donald Trump, the House committee investigating January 6 aired some complaints about his daughter, Ivanka Trump, in the executive summary of its forthcoming report.

The committee noted that not “all witnesses were entirely frank or forthcoming,” and some Trump White House figures “displayed a lack of full recollection of certain issues …” It offered two examples: Kayleigh McEnany, who was White House press secretary on January 6, 2021, and the president’s daughter and senior adviser. “Ivanka Trump was not as forthcoming as [White House counsel Pat] Cipollone and others about President Trump’s conduct,” the report’s summary states. “Indeed, Ivanka Trump’s chief of staff Julie Radford had a more specific recollection of Ivanka Trump’s actions and statements.”

It goes on to cite a comparison of Radford and Ivanka’s testimony that aired during the committee’s televised hearings. In the first clip, Ivanka is asked if she ultimately decided to attend Trump’s January 6 rally because “you hoped that you would calm the president and keep the event on an even keel.” She responds, “No. I don’t know who said that or where that came from.”

The second clip shows it came, at least in part, from Radford’s testimony describing a conversation she had with Ivanka:

Radford: Well, she shared that [Trump] had called the vice-president … an expletive word. I think that bothered her. And I think she could tell based on the conversations and what was going on in the office that he was angry and upset and people were providing misinformation. And she felt like she might be able to help calm the situation down, at least before he went onstage.

Committee staff: And the word that she relayed to you that the president called the vice-president — apologize for being impolite — but do you remember what she said her father called him?

Radford: The P-word.

It’s certainly appropriate for the January 6 panel to call Ivanka out for giving what appeared to be evasive answers while testifying under oath. And perhaps in a better world, we’d all be appalled by her apparent shiftiness. But the committee probably got all it could have hoped for out of Ivanka’s testimony. As the report notes, she did provide some useful information:

Among other things, Ivanka Trump acknowledged to the Committee that: (1) she agreed with Attorney General Barr’s statements that there was no evidence of sufficient fraud to overturn the election; (2) the President and others are bound by the rulings of the courts and the rule of law; (3) President Trump pressured Vice-President Pence on the morning of January 6 regarding his authorities at the joint session of Congress that day to count electoral votes; and (4) President Trump watched the violence on television as it was occurring.

And in some ways, the fact that Ivanka testified at all was more important than what she said — and the committee knew this. It wanted to make the hearings blockbuster TV and began teasing Ivanka and Jared Kushner’s testimony days before the first televised hearing. The Washington Post reported on June 4:

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.

Indeed, snippets from Ivanka’s testimony were replayed often during subsequent hearings, even when they didn’t provide much context or new detail. Ivanka is as A-list as the Trump team gets, and the committee members were wise to see that White House senior adviser Eric Herschmann’s panda painting couldn’t carry the show on its own.

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Ivanka Trump Gave the January 6 Panel What It Needed