As Trump’s term is coming to an end, a lawsuit “abuse of funds by the 2017 Trump Inaugural Committee” at the beginning of this year has resurfaced. Because of direct contact with the parties involved in the incident, Trump’s daughter Ivanka was also involved in the lawsuit.
According to the Washington Post on December 3, Ivanka tweeted that she was summoned by the Attorney General’s Office in Washington, D.C. on the 1st, and the forensic work lasted for more than five hours. Ivanka accused the investigation of being “politically motivated revenge” and posted a screenshot of her December 2016 email in an attempt to “self-evance”.
But Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC) pointed out that Ivanka deliberately concealed the content of several other emails, and the matter may not be as simple as Ivanka said. This series of reports soon attracted the attention of American netizens. On the night of December 3, that is, on the morning of December 4, Beijing time, “IvankaForPrison” once rushed to Twitter.
Involving allegations of misuse of funds
The cause of this goes back to the time when Trump first took office as President of the United States. In January this year, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine accused Trump’s inaugural committee of abusing non-profit funds and paying excessive fees for celebrations before and after Trump’s inauguration in 2017.
Racine’s side said the committee paid for booking the banquet hall of Trump International Hotel at $175,000 a day, plus more than $300,000 for catering, which totaled more than $1 million. But they pay far above the normal market price.
Racine said that after paying abnormally high fees, the committee did not use the banquet hall much. He accused the committee of illegally seeking Trump’s personal gain and misappropriating non-profit funds to hold private parties for the Trump family.
The investigation shows that Stephenie Wolkoff, then event planner of the committee, objected to the expenditure. She told the committee and the Trump family that the cost was at least twice the normal market price, and Volkov also sent Ivanka an email to express “concerns”.
However, Volkov’s objection did not stop this expenditure. Racine believes that Rick Gates, then vice chairman of the committee and former Trump campaign adviser, personally arranged the relevant activities. According to the investigation, Gates wrote to Ivanka in December 2016, saying that he was “worried that paying too much money would attract outside attention”.
As Trump’s term draws to an end, the long-silent case is “fermenting” again, and Ivanka, who had direct mail with Gates, naturally became the main target of investigation.
Asked for 5 hours
According to the Washington Post, on December 1, the U.S. Attorney General’s Office summoned Ivanka in the case, who was questioned and presented testimony by investigators. The next day, the office also confirmed its acceptance of Ivanka’s testimony.
But on December 3, Ivanka poured “bitter water” on Twitter. She said that she had been subjected to more than five hours of evidence from investigators, accusing the investigation of being “politically motivated revenge and wasting taxpayers’ money”.
Ivanka claimed that she showed investigators an email four years ago, in which she asked the hotel to charge at the normal market price, and the hotel did what she said. Ivanka attached a screenshot of the relevant email to this tweet.
From the picture, the email was sent on December 14, 2016, and Ivanka sent it to the hotel manager. The content of the email reads: “I see the relevant content. Why don’t you call and negotiate? Prices should be at fair market interest rates.”
Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC) pointed out that Ivanka did not show other emails about hotel fees before and after the email, which was obviously not enough to dispel the suspicion of investigators.
After the evidence collection, Trump Group spokesman Alan Garten issued a statement saying that Ivanka “is only involved in contacting all parties and pointed out that the hotel charges fair market prices.” But Gatten did not respond to Ivanka’s tweet. A White House spokesman declined to comment on the incident.
Ivanka “refuge the important or light”?
The situation may not be as simple as Ivanka’s description. CNBC said they found some noteworthy details from the prosecution documents. On December 10, 2016, the marketing director of Trump International Hotel sent an email to the inaugural committee, showing that the total price of venue fees and minimum catering costs was staggering $3.6 million.
Then came the “worried about outside attention” email Gates sent to Ivanka. Ivanka replied that Gates said that she had asked the hotel manager to “contact Gates directly” and attached a “thank you”. By December 16, 2016, the hotel manager’s quotation to Gates in the mail had become $175,000 a day for the venue fee (a total of $700,000 for four days), and there was no minimum cost for catering, which later totaled about $1 million.
Rassin also quickly responded to Ivanka’s criticism on Twitter, showing Volkov’s December 17, 2016 email to Gates. In the email, Volkov said that she estimated that the maximum daily rental of the venue should actually be only $85,000, which is $90,000 lower than the daily cost of the venue listed by the committee.
“The evidence collected suggests that the Inaugural Committee had knowingly signed an overpriced contract with Trump Hotel. We filed a lawsuit in this regard, and the objections are untenable. Rassin wrote. He stressed that the money of the non-profit organization should be used for established public purposes, and the committee involved the use of the funds for personal gain of the Trump family, which violated the law, so he wanted to file a lawsuit.
Eric Danziger, CEO of the Trump Hotel Chain, Thomas Barrack Jr., Chairman of the Inaugural Committee, and Trump are located at the Washington Hotel, D.C. Attorney General’s Office said. Two executives have been summoned. Volkov will be questioned in the next few weeks.
Due to Ivanka’s involvement, some American netizens also began to pay attention to the incident. According to the records of trend24, a Twitter hot search tracking website, on the evening of the 3rd local time, “IvankaForPrison” once rushed to the top ten of Twitter hot searches. Trump opponents scolded Ivanka as “wasing taxpayers’ money” under this label.
Trump once sought pardon for his children.
The investigation of this misuse of funds is still in progress, so no matter how American netizens scold Ivanka on the label of “Ivanka’s imprisonment”, no mainstream American media has directly linked Ivanka to the prison disaster.
However, according to the New York Times on December 1, Trump has indeed studied the feasibility of pardoning several children recently. According to people familiar with the matter, Trump discussed with his advisers whether he could pardon his three children and his daughter Kushner. Trump’s lawyer Giuliani denied the news.
Trump is primarily concerned that Biden’s judiciary may file a judicial lawsuit against his children, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Trumps have really been suffering recently. Trump’s own company is facing a tax investigation from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and Trump’s second son Eric Trump can’t continue to avoid the subpoena. Recently, he accepted evidence from the Manhattan Prosecutor’s Office on Trump’s tax issue.
Even without considering potential litigation issues, after Trump lost the election, Ivanka, the once-unlimited “first daughter”, had to seriously consider her future whereabouts.
During Trump’s tenure, Ivanka and her husband Kushner both “work” in the administration as senior advisers to the White House, and she had to find another way out after Biden took office. The New York Times reported in late November that the Ivanka family were preparing for a move, and it was not clear what they planned to do in the future. Ivanka may choose to go into business or even politics. The Guardian pointed out that the Trump family has received a lot of reality show invitations, which is also a viable option.
Vanity Fair wrote a mocking article: “Ivanka said that the lawsuit was a waste of taxpayers’ money, and she was really not qualified to say that. Over the years, she spent a lot of taxpayers’ money on vacation and played role-playing with Kushner to get the salary of a White House consultant.