Ivanka Trump testified to the January 6th Committee today. If her testimony were uncooperative, committee members would have announced as much by now. This comes days after Jared Kushner gave testimony that multiple committee members have since said was indeed cooperative. Ivanka and Jared must be so averse to being indicted for contempt, they’re willing to testify and give up others. In other words, the Steve Bannon contempt indictment is working as intended.
The committee made a point of subpoenaing Steve Bannon before anyone else, knowing he wouldn’t cooperate, so it could make an early example out of him. And while the DOJ would pretty clearly prefer to hold off on bringing contempt charges against any given person until it has a full boat of charges ready to go against that person, it obliged the committee on Bannon by promptly indicting and arresting him. The committee only needed the one arrest in order to make clear what would eventually happen to anyone else who refused to cooperate.
People like Ivanka and Jared saw Bannon get popped, and are acting accordingly. They don’t want to get indicted for contempt and end up on criminal trial, so they’re testifying against others. This is precisely what the committee was aiming for when it popped Bannon early on.
“But I don’t trust Ivanka and Jared!” Not relevant. These types do whatever is selfishly best for themselves. The committee stacked things such that these kinds of witnesses are better off testifying than not testifying. It took time for the committee to stack things that way, but it’s working.
“But they’ll just lie to the committee or plead the fifth!” There’s been no indication that they pleaded the fifth on anything. And if they were to lie to the committee about anything, the committee would just ring them up for lying to Congress, which would also land them in prison.
In these kinds of probes, the most useful witnesses are the people who saw everything, know everything, and maybe even have proof of it all, but did not participate in the criminal plot. These people can simply testify against others, and then go on with their lives.
“But people like Ivanka and Jared will never give up Donald Trump!” They don’t have to. They can just give up January 6th perpetrators outside the Trump family. The committee can then use that to pressure those people to give up Trump. It’s how these things work. You just keep getting each person to give up someone else.
The bottom line is that the January 6th Committee’s strategy is paying off in spades. By busting Steve Bannon early on, it set a tone such that people like Ivanka and Jared ultimately decided they’d rather just give up whoever they had to give up, than end up awaiting criminal trial for contempt. This was a long game, but the results are now becoming rather clear. And no, we’re not “running out of time.”
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report