An interesting scoop for the Times at a most interesting moment.
The details were provided to reporters Peter Baker and Susan Glasser for their new book by “a wide array of figures close to [Jared Kushner] and the former president,” which I’m going to guess includes Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump themselves. But it seems like more than a coincidence that Baker is scooping himself in the pages of the NYT the day before the first primetime hearing by the January 6 committee is held. So here’s a theory: Maybe Jared and Ivanka, fearing some ugly revelations to come tomorrow and in the weeks ahead, are getting out ahead of them by encouraging Baker to put this out there and preemptively absolve them from any role in the “stop the steal” fiasco. They’re expecting Americans to be shocked by what comes out (at least, the Americans in their social circle) and they want to make sure everyone understands they weren’t involved in the coup attempt.
They may also want to prepare MAGAworld for the surprise cameo they’re going to be making at tomorrow night’s hearing. On video, that is, not in person.
I’m inclined to believe that Javanka never bought the “rigged election” nonsense even though it’s self-serving for them to say so now. It’s not just that they’re liberals by disposition. It’s the fact that they’ve never seemed to be consumers of the sort of conservative infotainment that acted as the engine for election conspiracy theories. In fact, according to the “array of figures” who spoke to the Times, they saw the writing on the wall about Biden’s victory within about 36 hours of polls closing.
The election had not even been called for Joseph R. Biden Jr., but as Mr. Kushner later told the story to aides and associates, the White House’s young power couple felt no need to wait for the official results. They saw which way the votes were going and understood that, barring some unforeseen surprise, the president had lost his bid for a second term. Even if he refused to accept it himself.
No matter how vociferously Mr. Trump claimed otherwise, neither Mr. Kushner nor Ivanka Trump believed then or later that the election had been stolen, according to people close to them. While the president spent the hours and days after the polls closed complaining about imagined fraud in battleground states and plotting a strategy to hold on to power, his daughter and son-in-law were already washing their hands of the Trump presidency…
One of the most striking realizations that emerged from the book research was how many people around Mr. Trump did not believe the election had been stolen but kept quiet or checked out, including White House officials and campaign aides. Hope Hicks, long one of his closest advisers, told him it was time to move on. “Well, Hope doesn’t believe in me,” Mr. Trump responded bitterly. “No, I don’t,” she replied. “Nobody’s convinced me otherwise.” She disappeared in the final weeks of the administration.
The Times’s sources claim that Kushner washed his hands of Trump’s post-election challenges as soon as crazy Rudy Giuliani was brought in as the point man for them, knowing how the effort would quickly become a circus. Which is funny, since it was noted long ago that Javanka had a habit of disappearing whenever Trump was about to go “haywire” in order to avoid culpability for whatever insanity he was about to unleash. With Rudy in charge of trying to organize a soft coup, Jared apparently spent his final two months as a White House advisor trying to broker peace in the Middle East. Supposedly, on the afternoon of January 6, he got a text from Kevin McCarthy begging for help as the mob entered the Capitol, at which point the heroic Kushner gallantly rushed to the White House to try to convince Trump to call off the dogs.
Coincidentally, that’s precisely the story you’d tell reporters if you were a friend of Jared Kushner’s — or Jared himself — and keen to make him look good before the committee begins airing the Trump White House’s dirty laundry.
As I say, expect to see him and Ivanka testify tomorrow — on tape. The depositions they gave to the committee several months ago were reportedly “gripping.”
Although the committee has not made a final decision, people familiar with the investigation believe the panel will screen footage of testimony from Ivanka Trump and Kushner — including Trump’s account of her father’s actions in the West Wing on Jan. 6.
“Everybody will pay attention when Jared and Ivanka talk on video. It doesn’t matter how damning the presentations are,” said a person close to the investigation.
I think the committee has three goals, broadly speaking. First and most important is convincing Americans that Trump is dangerously unfit for office and can never serve again. The Senate could have done that job for them last year by convicting and disqualifying him but lacked the guts. The committee’s going to take the case to voters and try to render Trump an electoral nonstarter in 2024. The second is to show the public that the risk of a second coup attempt is real and growing more dire. Just last night, an election truther won the GOP’s nomination for secretary of state in New Mexico running unopposed. Doug Mastriano was in D.C. on January 6 and has been a diehard “rigged election” crank from the start and he won Pennsylvania’s Republican primary for governor. Kari Lake, another conspiracy diehard, is the favorite to be the party’s nominee for governor in Arizona. “[D]on’t settle into the hearings thinking about them as a history lesson. They’re an active threat assessment,” writes Amanda Carpenter.
The third goal is to enlist as many Trump insiders and respected conservative figures as possible to tell the story of the election plot, knowing that skeptical Republican voters will have more trouble questioning their credibility than they will with figures who are hostile to Trump. Trump’s own daughter and son-in-law are the supreme examples but Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, is also expected to appear as a witness. So is Michael Luttig, the eminent conservative former federal judge who advised Pence not to try to overturn the election on January 6. The committee is also in talks with former Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who saw this entire nightmare unfold firsthand and may be prepared to testify about Trump’s interest in having election truther Jeffrey Clark installed as Attorney General in January.
It’s going to be an unholy sh*tshow. And although this country has degraded too much civically for most Americans to care, the sort of people whose opinions Jared and Ivanka care about *will* care. Which explains today’s Times scoop, I’d guess.