The Jan. 6 Select Committee on Thursday sent a letter to Ivanka Trump asking for her voluntary cooperation with its investigation into the attack on Congress.
The lengthy letter asked a series of detailed questions of the former White House advisor. Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) concluded by asking to meet with Ivanka Trump “soon,” proposing several dates in early February.
Thompson broadcast the request to reporters on Thursday, saying “You will anticipate the committee inviting some people to come talk to us.”
“Not lawmakers right now,” he added: “Ivanka Trump.”
The committee said it was interested in four areas of questioning: Donald Trump’s efforts to impede the count of Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, Trump’s response to the attack on the Capitol, “whether the President did or did not give any order to deploy the National Guard” and Trump’s activities in the days after Jan. 6, particularly the purported effort “to persuade President Trump not to associate himself with certain people, and to avoid further discussion regarding election fraud allegations.”
In a statement after the letter had circulated publicly, a spokesperson for Ivanka Trump said she had “just learned” about the letter. The statement didn’t say one way or the other whether Trump would cooperate.
“As the Committee already knows, Ivanka did not speak at the January 6 rally,” the statement read. “As she publicly stated that day at 3:15pm, ‘any security breach or disrespect to our law enforcement is unacceptable. The violence must stop immediately. Please be peaceful.'”
Throughout the letter, the panel referenced various bits of testimony and documents that its investigation has already compiled.
That included a Jan. 6 text message from an unnamed member of the “House Freedom Caucus with knowledge of the President’s planning for that day.”
“If POTUS allows this to occur … we’re drive a stake in the heart of the federal republic,” an excerpt from the text message read.
That morning, Trump told a raucous crowd at the Ellipse that they should march to the Capitol, promising them that he would march along with them.
The letter noted that Chief of Staff Mark Meadows claimed in his book that Trump “was making a symbolic point,” never intending to actually march himself to the Capitol.
But the committee suggested that it has information to the contrary, citing “testimony and contemporaneous notes” of a senior White House official which suggest “that the President genuinely did wish to walk or drive with the protestors to Capitol Hill at the close of his speech on January 6th.”
The letter also cited testimony from Gen. Keith Kellogg, then-Vice President Mike Pence’s national security adviser, who was present in the Oval Office on Jan. 6.
Kellogg, the committee said, recounted a phone call that morning between Trump and Pence, in which Trump pressed Pence to reject states’ slates of electors.
Trump told Pence something along the lines of “you’re not tough enough to make the call,” Kellog recalled to the committee.
After the call, in which Pence rejected Trump’s entreaties, Ivanka purportedly told Kellogg: “Mike Pence is a good man.”
Trump only made things worse for Pence when he attacked him in the middle of the riot, tweeting, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”
“We are particularly interested in discussions inside the White House and with the President before and after his 2:24 p.m. tweet,” the letter stated.
In The Oval Office
As the attack progressed on the afternoon of Jan. 6, the letter said, White House staff focused on two things: trying to persuade Trump to call off the rioters, and finding someone who could successfully break through to Trump with that message.
The letter suggested that the task fell to Ivanka Trump, with staff recognizing that she “may be the only person who could persuade him to act.”
Kellogg, the letter said, told lawmakers that Ivanka repeatedly went to the Oval Office on Jan. 6. Others who purportedly tried to contact Trump, the letter said, include “Donald Trump, Jr., Laura Ingraham, Brian Kilmeade, Sean Hannity, multiple members of Congress and the press, Governor Chris Christie, and many others.”
Don Jr., the panel said, purportedly texted an unknown person: “We need an oval address. He has to lead now. It’s gone too far and gotten out of hand.”
For lawmakers on the panel, all this raised a nagging question: Why didn’t White House staff simply have Trump come out and address the media from the briefing room?
The panel partly answered its own question in the letter: “Apparently, certain White House staff believed that a live unscripted press appearance by the President in the midst of the Capitol Hill violence could have made the situation worse.”
The committee also expressed an interest in orders — or the lack thereof — to deploy the National Guard as the attack unfolded.
“The Committee has identified no evidence that President Trump issued any order, or took any other action, to deploy the guard that day,” the letter read. “Nor does it appear that President Trump made any calls at all to the Department of Justice or any other law enforcement agency to request deployment of their personnel to the Capitol,” the letter said.
The letter also said that the panel wants to ask Ivanka about discussions she may have had with her father about his legal liability for the Jan. 6 attack.
“The Committee has information suggesting that President Trump’s White House Counsel may have concluded that the actions President Trump directed Vice President Pence to take would violate the Constitution or would be otherwise illegal,” the letter read.
But it was a text from Fox News host Sean Hannity to then-White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany that clearly laid out the stakes for Trump.
Hannity texted McEnany a five point “plan” for how to talk to Trump. Point one was “no more stolen election talk.”
Point two was: “Yes, impeachment and 25th amendment are real, and many people will quit…”
The letter only excerpted part of the plan. The other points aren’t clear.
The panel did include McEnany’s response.
“Love that. Thank you. That is the playbook,” she wrote. “I will help reinforce.”
Hannity also told McEnany to keep “crazy people” away from Trump after Jan. 6.
“Yes 100%,” she purportedly replied.