Ivanka Trump asked to co-operate with Capitol attack committee

Move a first attempt to seek testimony from Trump family member about potential criminality by ex-president

Former US president Donald Trump and his daughter and former senior adviser Ivanka Trump. Ms Trump has been asked to cooperate with a committee investigating the January 6th, 2021 Capitol attack. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former US president Donald Trump and his daughter and former senior adviser Ivanka Trump. Ms Trump has been asked to cooperate with a committee investigating the January 6th, 2021 Capitol attack. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

 

The US committee investigating last year’s Capitol attack is asking Ivanka Trump, daughter of Donald Trump, to appear for a voluntary deposition to answer questions about the former president’s efforts to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.

The move by the House select committee marks an aggressive new phase in its inquiry into the January 6th insurrection, as testimony is sought for the first time from a member of the Trump family about potential criminality on the part of the former president.

Congressman Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the select committee, said in an 11-page letter to Ms Trump that the panel wanted to ask about her father’s plan to stop the certification, and his response to the Capitol attack, including delays to deploying the national guard.

Ms Trump was a senior adviser to her father during his presidency, as was her husband Jared Kushner. The two were seen as a power couple very close to the inner workings of the Trump White House.

The questions to Ms Trump appear directed at a key issue: whether her father oversaw a criminal conspiracy that also involved obstructing a congressional proceeding, which is a crime.

The letter said that the panel first wanted to question Ms Trump about what she recalled of a heated Oval Office meeting on the morning of the insurrection when the former president was trying to co-opt Mike Pence into rejecting Mr Biden’s win.

‘A good man’

The former president was on the phone with the then vice-president in an Oval Office meeting with Ms Trump and Keith Kellogg, a top Pence aide, the letter said. When Mr Pence demurred on the former president’s repeated request, Ms Trump turned to Mr Kellogg and said Mr Pence was “a good man”.

Mr Thompson said in the letter that the panel wanted to learn more about that exchange with Mr Pence as well as other conversations about impeding the electoral count at the joint session of Congress on January 6th that she may have witnessed or participated in.

He added that House investigators had additional questions about whether Ms Trump could shed light on whether the former president had been told that such an action might be unlawful, and yet nonetheless persisted in pressuring Mr Pence to reinstall him for a second term.

The letter said the select committee was also interested in learning more from Ms Trump about her father’s response to the Capitol attack, and discussions inside the White House about the former president’s tweet castigating Mr Pence for not adopting his plan.

Mr Thompson said the nagging question for Ms Trump - who White House aides thought had the best chance of having the former president condemn the rioters - was what she did about the situation and why her father did not call off the rioters in a White House address.

The letter comes after the US supreme court, in another blow to the former president, this week rejected his request to block the release of more than 700 of the most sensitive of White House documents he had tried to hide from the select committee.

The former president’s defeat means those documents - including presidential diaries, notes and memos from the files of top aides including the former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows - that could shed light on the Capitol attack can now be transferred to Congress. – Guardian