On Thursday night, just over 17 months after Donald Trump sicced a violent mob on the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election, the January 6 committee will hold a prime-time hearing—the first of several—to reveal the findings of its yearlong investigation into the events before, during, and after the attack. As Axios reported on Monday, the panel has hired veteran news producer James Goldston in the hopes of making Thursday’s proceedings must-see TV, and the Nightline alum plans to not only provide fresh material for skeptical journalists to “chew over” but to “draw the eyeballs of Americans who haven’t followed the ins and outs of the Capitol riot probe.” One way the committee is apparently hoping to get viewers to tune in? By casting Princes Purses and the Boy Prince of New Jersey, AKA Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, in starring roles.
While the former first daughter and son-in-law will not be appearing as live witnesses, The Washington Post reported over the weekend that people familiar with the matter believe “the panel will screen footage of testimony from Ivanka Trump and Kushner,” clips they think will make for “gripping television.” While it’s not clear exactly what details the couple shared with the panel during their respective under-oath testimonies, in March committee member Elaine Luria told MSNBC that Kushner provided “really valuable” information. Speaking to NPR, Luria said, “I think that the committee really appreciates hearing information directly from people who have relevant facts about January 6, and the fact that Jared Kushner came as a witness is helpful to building the story of our investigation.” (While Kushner was en route back to Washington from Saudi Arabia during the insurrection, the panel was obviously also interested in the events leading up to the attack, including Trump’s monthslong campaign to convince people a second term had been stolen from him, and attempts to get Mike Pence to block the certification of Joe Biden‘s win.) As for Ivanka, who was at the White House and in direct communication with her father throughout the riot, committee vice chair Liz Cheney said in an interview the former first daughter’s “testimony was helpful.” During the same interview, Cheney, who has been made a pariah in her party for speaking out against Trump, said that it was “absolutely clear” that the ex-president knew his actions were “unlawful” but “did it anyway.”
In a letter sent to Ivanka in January, before her sit-down with the panel, the committee noted that she was in the Oval Office during a phone call between her father and Pence on the morning of January 6, when the then-president reportedly accused his V.P. of not having “the courage” to block the certification of Biden’s win. In testimony before the panel, Keith Kellogg, a retired lieutenant general who served as Pence’s national security adviser, said that after the president claimed Pence wasn‘t “tough enough” to overturn the results, Ivanka responded that “Mike Pence is a good man.” (For her part, on the day of the riot Ivanka tweeted, “the violence must stop,” during the riot. She also initially addressed the people attacking the Capitol as “American patriots.”)
While there’s little reason to believe Ivanka or Jared would have given the committee the kind of evidence that, for example, would lead to her father going to prison, it seems notable that the couple didn’t completely stonewall the investigative body, as Trumps tend to do. Incidentally, the duo also famously had a habit, working in the administration, of literally fleeing the scene any time there was blowback over Trump doing something particularly terrible, even for him, in the patently obvious hope people would forget they had anything to do with the guy. So it doesn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility that they’d tell the committee something that might hurt Trump if it made the two of them look better.
Then again, they‘re Trumps, by blood and marriage, so one can never actually rely on them to do the right thing. But according to a person familiar with the panel’s thinking, that doesn’t really matter. “Everybody will pay attention when Jared and Ivanka talk on video. It doesn’t matter how damning the presentations are,” a person familiar with the matter told the Post.
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