Lawfare editor explains why Ivanka’s defense of inauguration fraud isn’t really a defense at all
Ivanka and Donald Trump (NASA)

Lawfare editor Susan Hennessey explained in a Twitter thread that Ivanka Trump's assessment of the inauguration funding scandal isn't exactly correct.


Ms. Trump was deposed this week in an ongoing investigation into Donald Trump's possible misuse of funds in the inauguration. The D.C. attorney general believes the committee and the Trump Organization "abused more than $1 million raised by nonprofits" to hold events at the Trump hotel in 2017.

Thursday morning, Ms. Trump tweeted a copy of an email where she claimed that she told groups that they should get "a fair market rate," urging a group to "call and negotiate."

Hennessey explained that the email wasn't exactly a defense for the crimes being investigated by the attorney general.

"The crux of the corruption in question is why a hotel owned by the incoming president determined that the 'fair market rate' to stay there during his inauguration was so much higher than comparable hotels in DC," she tweeted.

She joked that perhaps the Trump hotel towels are just extra fluffy.

"Or maybe the president's family decided that the market would be willing to pay a little extra for the privilege of putting money directly into his pockets and reaping the rewards," said Hennessey.

According to a 2018 report, Ivanka Trump was the Trump Organization official who negotiated the price for the venue. There was another email from one of the inaugural planners, who wished to “express my concern” that the hotel was overcharging for its event spaces, worrying of what would happen “when this is audited.”

The fact that the Trump Inauguration Committee, the Trump Organization and the Trump Hotels were all doing business with each other was enough to pose serious ethical questions among those concerned about the emoluments clause in the Constitution and possible misuse of funds.

Manhattan Federal Prosecutors are also investigating. In Feb. 2019, they subpoenaed documents asking for details about how the committee raised and spent the money, CNBC reported.

In January of this year, one of the inaugural committee's major donors, Imaad Zuberi, was charged with "obstructing a federal investigation," for his refusal to turn over information about unlawful contributions to political committees by a foreign national, something that is prohibited under campaign finance laws.

After Trump is out of office on Jan. 20, 2021, the federal and D.C. "state" investigations are expected to continue, though President Donald Trump is pondering issuing a blanket pardon for his children, and son-in-law Jared Kushner.