WASHINGTON – Ivanka Trump, former President Donald Trump's daughter and one of those closest to him during the insurrection at the Capitol, is testifying before the House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack.
Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, the committee's chairman, said Tuesday afternoon that she had been answering investigators' questions on a video teleconference since the morning and was not “chatty” but had been helpful to the probe.
“She came in on her own" and did not have to be subpoenaed, Thompson said.
Ivanka Trump, who was with her father in the White House that day, is one of more than 800 witnesses the committee has interviewed as it works to compile a record of the attack, the worst on the Capitol in more than two centuries. She the first of Trump's children known to speak to the committee and one of the closest people to her father.
Whether she gives the committee new information or not, her decision to cooperate is significant for the panel, which has been trying to secure an interview with her since late January. The nine-member panel is particularly focused on what the former president was doing as his supporters broke into the Capitol and interrupted the certification of President Joe Biden's victory.
Ivanka Trump's testimony comes less than a week after her husband, Jared Kushner, testified to the committee in a separate virtual meeting that lasted more than six hours. Members of the panel said his testimony was helpful and were hoping to further fill in the gaps with her help.
The panel is using the interviews to compile a comprehensive record and will begin to release information in the coming months as it holds public hearings and releases a series of reports on the insurrection. While Congress doesn't have power to charge anyone with a crime, members of the panel say the objective is to create the most comprehensive record possible so nothing like it ever happens again.
Lawmakers have said they want to discuss what Ivanka Trump knew about her father’s efforts, including a telephone call they say she witnessed, to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject Biden's 2020 election win as part of his ceremonial role overseeing the electoral count. Pence rejected those efforts.
The committee is also interested in any concerns she may have heard from Pence’s staff, members of Congress and the White House counsel’s office about Trump's pressure on Pence.
Ivanka Trump's cooperation stands in contrast with some of her father's other top advisers, several of whom have refused to cooperate as the former president has fought the probe. Trump has tried to exert executive privilege over documents and interviews, but in many cases has been overruled by courts or Biden, who has that authority as the sitting president.
The House is expected to vote this week to recommend contempt charges for Trump advisers Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino, both of whom the committee says have been uncooperative. The committee previously voted to recommend contempt charges against longtime Trump ally Steve Bannon, who defied a congressional subpoena, and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who ceased cooperating with the panel.
Bannon was later indicted by a federal grand jury and is awaiting prosecution by the Justice Department. The Justice Department has not taken any action against Meadows.
Other witnesses who are still close to the former president — and several who were in the White House that day — have declined to answer the committee’s questions.