Donald Trump has made no secret of his distaste for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia, most recently posting a Twitter message on Wednesday morning accusing Mueller of “viciously telling witnesses to lie about facts.”
But in an interview with ABC News on Tuesday, Trump’s 37-year-old daughter Ivanka Trump, who is also a White House assistant to her father, joined the elder Trump is his attack on the Mueller investigation. But some evidence suggests that Ivanka Trump’s call to quickly shut down the Russia investigation comes not simply from concern for her father — but that she could be implicated in the probe herself.
Asked by ABC News interviewer Deborah Roberts whether the Mueller investigation should be allowed to continue, Trump called for the probe to end.
“I think it should reach its conclusion. I think it’s been a long time that this has been ongoing, but I want it to be done in a way in which nobody could question that it was hurried or rushed,” she said. “And I think after this long period of time, we’re well beyond that point, so I think it absolutely should reach its conclusion.”
For comparison, the Mueller investigation into the Trump-Russia scandal has been ongoing for about 18 months. The special prosecutor investigation into President Bill Clinton went on for 69 months, according to a Guardian newspaper timeline. The independent counsel investigation into the Ronald Reagan administration’s Iran-Contra scandal took 50 months, according to a Federation of American Scientists timeline.
But the Mueller Russia investigation could also reach Ivanka Trump, though there has been no public indication that she is a subject or target of the probe. Nonetheless, her work on the presidential transition team could prove to be an area of vulnerability for the president’s daughter, as journalist and author Andrea Chalupa noted on her own Twitter account Wednesday.
According to a New Yorker Magazine investigation published last year, Ivanka Trump was an outspoken backer of retired General Michael Flynn, who became Donald Trump’s first national security adviser —and was quickly fired when his own Russia ties became public.
At one meeting chaired by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Ivanka Trump “took over,” bringing Flynn uninvited to the meeting over Christie’s objections, according to a Business Insider account. Despite the fact that Christie considered Flynn “too risky” for a position in Trump’s administration, Ivanka Trump — citing Flynn’s “amazing loyalty” to her father — turned to Flynn and said, “General, what job do you want?”
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying about the FBI regarding his own Russia contacts, and in a plea deal with Mueller, agreed to provide information in the Russia investigation and testify in upcoming trials in exchange for a lighter sentence. Flynn is set to be handed that sentence on December 18, according to Politico.
But Flynn did not make his contacts with Russian officials simply on his own. As part of his deal with Mueller, he admitted that “a senior member of the Trump transition team” ordered him to contact the Russians, according to a PBS News account.
Flynn did not identify the senior transition team member, at least not in his initial admission. Whether he has since told Mueller’s investigators the name of the person who directed him to contact the Russians is not yet clear. Ivanka Trump was a member of the transition team executive council.
Ivanka Trump’s husband Jared Kushner — now a senior White House adviser — attempted during the transition period to create a secret line of communication, or “back channel,” with the Russian government, according to Politico. While Kushner was reportedly unsuccessful, the “back channel” would have been shielded from eavesdropping by the United States intelligence agencies. Why Ivanka Trump’s husband wanted the super-secret channel of communication with Russia also remains unclear, though Kushner’s attempt has also likely been a topic of interest to Mueller.