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Ivanka Trump deposed as part of inauguration fund controversy

Right around the time we learned about a possible pardon for her, Ivanka Trump was being deposed by DC's attorney general's office.
Image: Ivanka Trump
Ivanka Trump speaks during the Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative roundtable in Washington on Feb. 7, 2019.Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images

It was just a couple of days ago when the New York Times reported that Donald Trump has held discussions about possible pre-emptive pardons for much of his immediate family, including Ivanka Trump. The article noted that the nature of the outgoing president's concern about "any potential criminal exposure" of Ivanka Trump is unclear.

As it turns out, right around the time the article was published, the president's adult daughter -- who also happens to be a prominent White House official -- was being deposed. The Associated Press reported:

Ivanka Trump has been deposed by attorneys alleging that President Donald Trump's 2017 inauguration committee misused donor funds, a new court filing reveals. The document notes that Ivanka Trump, the president's oldest daughter and a senior White House adviser, was interviewed Tuesday by attorneys from the Washington, D.C., attorney general's office.

The president's daughter confirmed the reporting this morning, publishing a tweet that said the deposition lasted more than five hours, was conducted by "the Democrat D.C. AG's office," and was an example of what she considered a "politically motivated demonstration of vindictiveness."

The attorney general's office in the District of Columbia has, in fact, raised a series of questions about the Trump Inaugural Fund, which has been a point of controversy for several years, due entirely to its highly dubious finances.

As the Associated Press' report noted, the D.C. attorney general's office has alleged that the inaugural committee "spent more than $1 million to book a ballroom at the Trump International Hotel in the nation's capital as part of a scheme to 'grossly overpay' for party space and enrich the president's own family in the process." What role, if any, Ivanka Trump played in this process is unclear, and it's worth emphasizing that she isn't the only person who's been deposed in the case.

The New York Times added that this is a civil matter, "separate from an investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan, who conducted an inquiry into donors to the inauguration, which raised and spent at least twice as much as its predecessors, a total of more than $107 million."

It's also separate from the New York investigation into the Trump Organization, which is reportedly facing an investigation on a variety of fronts, including alleged illegal payments to Ivanka Trump.

If, however, the outgoing president thinks he can make all of these concerns disappear with a sweeping pardon, he's mistaken: as Rachel noted on the show last night, a president can only issue pardons for federal crimes, which wouldn't apply here.

Watch this space.

Update: The D.C. attorney general, Karl A. Racine, pushed back against Ivanka Trump's rhetoric today, publishing comments today, arguing, "Our investigation revealed the Committee willfully used nonprofit funds to enrich the Trump family. It’s very simple: They broke the law. That’s why we sued." He added, "We filed suit after gathering evidence that the Presidential Inaugural Committee knowingly entered into a grossly overpriced contract with the Trump Hotel. Any claim to the contrary is incorrect."