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The Jan. 6 panel wants to talk to Ivanka Trump

Former President Donald Trump and daughter Ivanka Trump walk to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Jan. 4, 2020.
Drew Angerer
Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump and daughter Ivanka Trump walk to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Jan. 4, 2020.

Updated January 20, 2022 at 4:08 PM ET

The Democratic-led House select committee looking into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is seeking Ivanka Trump's voluntary cooperation with its investigation.

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., issued a letterThursday to the former first daughter and senior adviser to then-President Donald Trump.

The letter also detailed new evidence the panel has uncovered about her role the day of the siege, including multiple attempts to get her father to intervene in the attack and his efforts to undo President Biden's election.

"We respect your privacy, and our questions will be limited to issues relating to January 6th, the activities that contributed to or influenced events on January 6th, and your role in the White House during that period," Thompson wrote.

The committee has proposed a meeting date of Feb. 3 or 4, or during the week of Feb. 7. Ivanka Trump could not immediately be reached for comment.

The request comes a day after NPR confirmed the committee had requested phone records from family member Eric Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is engaged to Donald Trump Jr.

It's also a strong indication that the committee is moving its investigation into the former president's inner circle.

This is the first voluntary ask of a Trump family member. The committee has asked sitting Republican lawmakers to cooperate, but those asks have been rebuffed.

Thompson had hinted earlier this month that Ivanka Trump was someone the panel would want to talk to.

Committee reveals new evidence in letter

In the letter to Ivanka Trump, the panel said its members want her to weigh in on details obtained through other witnesses. For example, they shared testimony from retired Army Gen. Keith Kellogg, the former national security adviser to then-Vice President Mike Pence.

Both Kellogg and Ivanka Trump were in the room when her father talked to Pence by phone the morning of Jan. 6, the panel said. Trump told Pence, "You don't have the courage to make a hard decision," Kellogg confirmed.

Kellogg also confirmed to the panel Trump made other remarks to Pence, along the lines of, "Mike, it's not right. You can do this. I'm counting on you to do it. If you don't do it, I picked the wrong man four years ago. You're going to wimp out."

The remarks came as Pence was being pressured by Trump to overturn the election's results — despite his ceremonial role to certify Biden's win at the Capitol later that day.

Kellogg also told the panel that at the end of the call, Ivanka turned to him and said, "Mike Pence is a good man."

The committee also notes they have documents showing that the Trump White House counsel may have concluded that, had Pence followed through with the former president's plans, it would have violated the Constitution or would be illegal.

The panel, though the letter, also shared that an unidentified member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus warned the White House if Trump followed through with his plans on Jan. 6, it would "drive a stake in the heart of the federal republic."

What the committee wants to learn from Ivanka Trump

The committee has outlined four areas of interest they want to learn more about from Ivanka Trump. The first: learning more about her father's attempts to impede the electoral count in Congress.

"[T]he Select Committee would like to discuss any other conversations you may have witnessed or participated in regarding the President's plan to obstruct or impede the counting of electoral votes," Thompson wrote.

The committee also wants to learn more about the former president's response to the attack on the Capitol. The committee has reports from several people they've already interviewed indicating White House staff "requested your assistance on multiple occasions" to get then-President Trump to address what was happening.

Members of the staff, the panel said, viewed Ivanka Trump as perhaps the only person who could get her "stubborn" father to act against the attack. Ivanka Trump made multiple attempts to get her father to stop the attack, but he did release a video asking rioters to leave the Capitol until 4:17 p.m. EST that day — about two hours since she urged action, the panel said.

"You have knowledge bearing directly on the President's actions or inaction on January 6th, and his state of mind as the violent attack occurred at the Capitol," Thompson wrote.

Related to this, the committee wants to learn what role former President Trump played in the order to deploy the National Guard to the Capitol and has asked Ivanka Trump to share any information she may have on this topic.

"No more crazy people"

The committee is also looking into what the former president did in the days after the Jan. 6 attack — in particular, any attempts by staff to stop Trump from talking about a stolen election.

For example, the letter points to more texts sent by Fox News personality Sean Hannity to White House officials — after revealing recently his exchanges with former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

In new details, the panel said Hannity sent a text to then-White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany detailing a five-point approach to conversations with the former president that included "no more stolen election talk."

Hannity also warned McEnany that talk of Trump's impeachment and removal from office "are real" and "many people will quit."

McEnany texted Hannity back, "Love that. Thank you. That is the playbook. I will reinforce," in a partial snapshot of her response.

McEnany also agreed with another Hannity text that "no more crazy people" should be near Trump.

"The Select Committee would like to discuss this effort after January 6th to persuade President Trump not to associate himself with certain people, and to avoid further discussion regarding election fraud allegations," Thompson wrote.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Caitlyn Kim
Claudia Grisales is a congressional reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk.

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