The special counsel’s investigation into Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election is working its way deeper and deeper into Trump’s inner circle. On Wednesday night, news broke that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury. That news comes as Mike Pence and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows gear up to fight their own subpoenas.
Trump’s favorite daughter and son-in-law, though, did testify to the Jan. 6 committee, and Trump did not try to block that. If he didn’t try to block it on the thought that they would be loyal enough to only say things he’d like, he may have regretted that decision: Trump was reportedly furious about the clips aired in the special committee hearings with Ivanka saying, for instance, that when then-Attorney General William Barr told her the election hadn’t been stolen, “It affected my perspective. I respect Attorney General Barr so I accepted what he said.”
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Ivanka Trump could doubtless shed a lot of light on her father’s state of mind from the moment it became clear he had lost through the hours after the attack on the U.S. Capitol. She was not only his favorite child but a White House adviser. In particular, she spent time with him on Jan. 6, 2021 as he called Pence on the phone to pressure him not to certify the election and as he attended the rally on the Ellipse from which many people headed to the Capitol to break in and try to prevent Congress from certifying the election.
Both Ivanka and Jared (who arrived back from a trip to the Middle East that day) were part of the effort to get Trump to tell the insurrectionists to leave the Capitol.
It’s not news that Ivanka and Jared have a lot of information about Donald Trump’s refusal to accept that he had lost and his efforts to overturn that loss. The special counsel’s subpoena to them shows that his investigation is progressing pretty quickly. Jack Smith was appointed special counsel in November, and he has gotten to the point of trying to talk to people as close to Trump as Pence, Meadows, and Ivanka and Jared—people he likely wouldn’t be trying to talk to until he had a lot of supporting testimony and documentation.
Ivanka Trump has put distance between herself and her father’s 2024 campaign. Now she’s going to have another decision to make between loyalty to him and loyalty to the truth, or democracy. (Or just not perjuring herself.) Her husband’s decisions may come down not just to his relationship with his father-in-law but what’s in the best interest of the Saudi financial backers he used his connection to Trump to line up. If this is something they care about.
In addition to the coup attempt, Smith is tasked with investigating Trump’s large stash of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago and his obstruction of government efforts to reclaim those. There are signs that investigation is also making progress, with prosecutors invoking the crime-fraud exception to get one of his attorneys to answer questions.
Smith’s moves come as Trump also faces the possibility of indictment in Fulton County, Georgia, where a special grand jury recently made recommendations on indictments of a number of people. Names were redacted in the publicly released version of that report, but the foreperson of that jury has strongly hinted that Trump’s name would be on the list.
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Yes, electing the president by popular vote is possible! Joining us on this week's episode of The Downballot is former Vermont legislator Christopher Pearson, an official with National Popular Vote, the organization advocating for states to adopt a compact that would award their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who gets the most votes nationwide. Pearson walks us through the mechanics of the compact, debunks some common misconceptions, and lays out future steps toward hitting the required 270 electoral votes for the agreement to come into force.