Here’s what happened this week
Since the onset of the investigation by the House Select Committee on January 6, the biggest of several open questions has been whether former President Donald Trump or any of his family would agree to cooperate with the panel. The New York Times was the first to report on Wednesday that Ivanka Trump, the daughter of the former president and one of his closest advisers, was in talks with the committee about potentially sitting for an interview.
Ivanka Trump was one of the aides who unsuccessfully attempted to convince her father to call off the violence at the Capitol. In a January 20 letter asking her to sit for an interview, the committee cited testimony from General Keith Kellogg, in which he described the younger Trump as trying to sway the former president to take action, calling her “pretty tenacious.”
“Ivanka Trump is in discussions with the committee to voluntarily appear for an interview,” a spokesperson for Trump said.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court said that it would not take up the former president’s case attempting to block the disclosure of White House documents to the committee, formally ending Trump’s quest to prevent the records from being revealed. The Supreme Court’s order means that a lower court decision approving the release of documents will stay in place. The Supreme Court last month blocked Trump’s request to prevent the National Archives from turning over the materials to the committee while it considered whether to take the case, and so the panel already holds the documents that Trump was trying to keep secret.
Meanwhile, the attorney John Eastman, a key ally of Trump who was instrumental in plotting ways to overturn the election and was the author of the eponymous and now-infamous memo describing how to do it, revealed in court papers that he began advising the former president two months before the election. Eastman said that he was recruited by conservative attorney Cleta Mitchell to “join an Election Integrity Working Group to begin preparing for anticipated post-election litigation,” in his first official description of his work for the former president. Eastman has been ordered by a district court judge in California to release thousands of pages of records to the committee, which he has attempted to block on the basis of attorney-client privilege.
But defendants charged for their alleged roles in the January 6 attack may want to take a different route and cooperate with the committee. The chief district court judge in Washington, D.C., this week handed down a lighter sentence than recommended by prosecutors to Capitol rioter Robert Schornak, citing in part his meetings with the committee.
“To his credit, defendant cooperated with law enforcement after his arrest. And, to my mind, [he’s] gone further in expressing remorse by taking the concrete action of speaking with investigators of the House select committee, to help them understand the full scope of how that day happened,” Judge Beryl Howell said.
Here’s what may come next
Get ready for a focus on classified documents Trump took with him to Mar-a-Lago. The National Archives this past week said it had found classified information in the boxes Trump took with him when he left the White House. The snap response was some derision and whataboutism because Trump, recall, hammered Hillary Clinton over her handling of classified information on a private server. The Archives’ finding will almost certainly expand the investigation further.
What they did this week
A handful of Trump’s most visible White House aides have all been helping to boost a Pennsylvania Senate candidate. The candidate, David McCormick, has Hope Hicks, Stephen Miller, and Cliff Sims advising him on his campaign. Miller was subpoenaed by the committee in November.
Best quote of the week on January 6
“The challenge was brought by a national group, and they can be expected to refile with people in the District that Cawthorn runs in.” That was James Bopp Jr., an attorney for Congressman Madison Cawthorn, in response to a ruling on an effort to kick Cawthorn from the ballot in North Carolina that argued he helped start the riot on the Capitol. The effort was denied by state officials.