As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee on the January 6, 2021 insurrection moves along, it is examining Ivanka Trump’s actions that day — especially the former White House senior adviser urging her father, then- President Donald Trump, to call off his supporters when the U.S. Capitol Building was under attack. This week, Ivanka Trump’s importance to the committee is the focus of a column by liberal Washington Post opinion writer Greg Sargent and an article by blogger Marcy Wheeler.
Sargent notes that the committee’s “new focus on Ivanka Trump” shows that it “is developing an unexpectedly comprehensive picture of how inextricably linked the violence was to a genuine plot to thwart a legitimately elected government from taking power.”
“The importance of the role of the former president’s daughter emerges from the committee’s letter inviting her to testify,” Sargent explains. “As the violence raged, President Donald Trump sent a tweet attacking Vice President Mike Pence for refusing to subvert the congressional count of electors. This tweet energized many in the mob to break into the Capitol and try to disrupt the count themselves, according to federal indictments cited in the letter. Importantly, as all this happened, Ivanka Trump was in the middle of efforts to persuade her father to call off the rioters, the letter notes. Instead, he incited them by attacking Pence.”
On January 6, 2021, pro-Donald Trump rioters were furious with Pence for saying that he could not prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory during a joint session of Congress. Feeling betrayed, some of the insurrectionists were chanting, “Hang Mike Pence, hang Mike Pence” — and they even set up a hangman’s gallows outside the U.S. Capitol Building.
“The committee is focused on what Donald Trump’s advisers and family members — in this case, Ivanka Trump — can say about his state of mind as he tweeted his attack on Pence,” Sargent observes. “Remember, he did this instead of calling off the rioters, as they all urged him to do. Before the riot, Donald Trump had riled up the mob by attacking Pence for announcing he wouldn’t subvert the election. So, when Trump sent the tweet, did he understand the violence as something that could be weaponized to intimidate Pence into carrying that out?”
Sargent interviewed one of the Democrats on Pelosi’s committee, Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, for his column.
Raskin told Sargent, “Reasonably understood, the tweet reads as micro-incitement of the mob to target its fury against Vice President Pence. I do believe that stands alone. But it will help to eliminate any suggestion that this was just accidental or inartful wording if we learn from contemporaneous witnesses what Trump’s state of mind was.”
Meanwhile, in her Empty Wheel blog, Wheeler also weighs in on Ivanka Trump’s importance to the January 6 committee.
“Ivanka, of course, is not just the former president’s daughter,” Wheeler writes. “She’s also someone legally obliged to share all the communications conducted while performing whatever role it is she played in the White House — up to and including begging her daddy to call off a violent mob — with the National Archives…. Thompson would not have mentioned this if the committee had been able to obtain Ivanka’s side of many of these communications from the Archives, or at least seen them in documents Trump was attempting to claim privilege over. Thompson seems to know that Ivanka is not in compliance with the Presidential Records Act, specifically as it pertains to her role on January 6.”
Wheeler continues, “Here’s the thing about conspiracies. Once you join them, you’re in them — you’re on the hook for what all other co-conspirators do, from acquiring weapons to bring to D.C., to assaulting cops, to planning to overthrow the government — unless you make an affirmative effort to leave the conspiracy. Ivanka might well point to that comment in her statement — the violence must stop immediately — as an effort to leave a conspiracy. Except if she is covering up some of the things she knows by withholding records from the Archives, she’s going to have a hard time arguing that she didn’t remain in the conspiracy with all those people plotting violence by helping to cover it up.”