Jared and Ivanka, Without the Power or the Masks
WASHINGTON — They were stripped of their White House background, their power, and their masks.
In short video clips, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump appeared in the first of half a dozen public hearings held by the House Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
The first was Mrs. Trump. Speaking softly and seemingly aware that the video could someday be made public, she said she believed the words of former Attorney General William P. Barr, who said on Dec. 1, 2020, there was no widespread fraud. had consequences for the election that had taken place three weeks earlier.
“It affected my perspective,” Ms. Trump said softly as she peered into a camera for a taped interview that didn’t take place in person. “I respect Attorney General Barr. So I accepted what he said – said.”
That was despite what her father, President Donald J. Trump, claimed, and despite the fact that, according to several White House employees working alongside her, she did little to temper his false claims that he had won the 2020 election. . She continued to travel with him while he made his claims publicly.
Next up was Mr. Kushner. In his video, he was urged by Representative Liz Cheney, the committee’s vice chair, whether he was aware that White House counsel Pat A. Cipollone had threatened to resign as Mr. Trump became increasingly outlandish. attempted to stay in power.
“Like I said,” said Mr. Kushner, who was rarely heard from publicly during his father-in-law’s presidency, “my interest at the time was in getting as much of a presidential pardon as possible. Mr. Kushner repeatedly interfered with the pardon process, leading to complaints from legal experts and some of his colleagues. He added that he knew that Mr Cipollone and “the team always said, ‘Oh, we’re going to resign, we won’t be there when this happens, when that happens.’ So I kind of took it in to just whine, to be honest.”
Mrs. Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, sounded grim and addressed the hearing room after the video ended. “Nagging,” she said. “There’s a reason people in our government take an oath to the constitution. As our founding fathers recognized, democracy is fragile. The people in positions of public trust are obliged to defend it, to step forward when action is required. In our country we do not swear an oath to an individual or a political party.”
Mr. Kushner’s words infuriated Mr. Cipollone’s former colleagues, many of whom exchanged messages while complaining to reporters and to each other as the hearing progressed that the former president’s son-in-law was “arrogant.”
No two people had positioned themselves as prominently in the Trump White House as his daughter and son-in-law, who acted as official advisers despite anti-nepotism laws and warnings from other aides that hiring relatives can be fraught. For four years, the two carefully took care of their statues.
Aid workers feared being on the wrong side of the couple, who lived in Washington’s upscale Kalorama neighborhood and hosted dinner parties for the city’s political elite.
The videos made it clear that both knew things were going wrong at the White House. But according to more than half a dozen former Trump advisers, although both have tried to distance themselves from that period, neither of them has gone to great lengths to pull Mr Trump away from his obsession with staying in power.
Instead, they left that job to the paid staff, who in turn waited for the family to intervene more aggressively. Shortly after Election Day, most aides tried to avoid the Oval Office for fear of listening to Trump. They were also keen to avoid the worst-case scenario: a directive from Mr. Trump that may have been illegal and could have entangled them in an investigation.