Former presidential senior adviser Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump will not be asserted executive privilege by the White House as their voluntary testimonies before the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack draw near.
At Tuesday’s White House press briefing, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield was handling the questioning when she called on CNN’s White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins. After a couple of interrogatives on Russian forces in Ukraine, Collins turned to the matter of former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law’s upcoming testimony on any involvement he may have had in the events that transpired.
“Jared Kushner is set to testify before the January 6th Committee on Thursday virtually,” the reporter began. “Has the White House had any communication with him about whether or not you’re going to waive any executive privilege claims that he could make?”
Leafing through her papers, Bedingfeld appeared to read a prepared statement on the matter verbatim, only occasionally glancing up at Collins.
“So, obviously, the president has spoken to the fact that January 6th was one of the darkest days in our country’s history and that we must have a full accounting of what happened to ensure that it never occurs again,” she offered, framing the White House’s perception of the gravity of the events.
“And he’s been quite clear that they posed a unique threat to our democracy,” Bedingfield went on, “and that the constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield from Congress or the public information about an attack on the Constitution itself.”
She concluded by stating, “And so, as a result, the White House has decided not to assert executive privilege over the testimony of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.”
Collins sought clarity on whether the statement from the communications director would be the first Kushner heard of the White House’s decision, asking, “And have you communicated that to Jared Kushner’s team? Or is this a communication error?”
“I won’t speak to private communications between our attorneys and his,” Bedingfield replied before moving to the next reporter, signaling she would add nothing further on the subject.
Trump’s efforts to assert executive privilege over certain White House records were already knocked down by a federal appeals court that ruled it was up to the current executive to determine what garnered such privilege. Biden’s administration dismissed any concern about setting a precedent remaining solely focused on the wide net they had cast in the ongoing partisan investigation.
While some of the stones that the committee seeks to turn over include communications on Jan 6 like an alleged call that Sen. Lindsay Graham made to Ivanka Trump that had him reportedly telling the president’s daughter, “This thing is going south. This is not good. You’re going to have to tell these people to stand down,” and more outlandish efforts relate to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife.
Ginni Thomas, an active participant in conservative movements, had tweeted about the president’s rally that morning and was reported to have texted Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows 29 times after the election. Such a connection, Democrats argue, is enough to insist that Justice Thomas recuse himself from any potential cases regarding the committee’s findings, further proving the partisan nature of what many on the right consider to be a witch hunt.
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