Will Ivanka Trump Be Interviewed In The Russia Investigation? Democrats Are Pushing For It
Unlike several other Trump administration officials who have been implicated in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe, Ivanka Trump has largely managed to stay out of it. However, after she was linked to a Russian weightlifter last week, Democrats have been calling on Mueller's Russia investigation to interview Ivanka Trump.
Last week, BuzzFeed News published a report revealing that Trump had been in contact with Dmitry Klokov — a former Olympic weightlifter from Russia — via Michael Cohen, the president's former personal lawyer. According to BuzzFeed, Klokov offered to introduce Trump's father to Russian President Vladimir Putin, in order to negotiate the construction of a Trump tower in Moscow. Although BuzzFeed reported that there was no proof that this interaction between Trump and Klokov was linked to the election, Democrats are now calling for Trump to be interviewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Trump's reported exchanges with Klokov took place in November 2015, while her father was campaigning for the presidency. Even if their discussions did not pertain to the 2016 election, Newsweek reported that the construction of a Trump tower in Moscow would have meant millions of dollars for the Trump family. However, Klokov initially told BuzzFeed that he had never communicated with Cohen or anyone in the Trump family, while a spokesperson for Trump's attorney told BuzzFeed that the first daughter had never directly communicated with Klokov.
According to the original BuzzFeed report, Trump instructed Cohen to speak to Klokov in November 2015. Citing four unnamed sources, BuzzFeed reported that Klokov and Cohen had at least one conversation on the phone, followed by a series of emails that are now being investigated as part of Mueller's Russia probe.
However, after Klokov reportedly told Cohen that he could set up a meeting between the American and Russian presidents, Cohen cut off continued communication with Klokov, saying that the Trump Organization had already finalized a deal for the construction of a Trump tower in Moscow. According to Business Insider, Cohen likely rejected Klokov's offer because he was simultaneously trying to finalize a deal with Russian-born businessman Felix Sater.
It was at this moment that Klokov copied Trump on his response to Cohen, in which he questioned the lawyer's authority. Trump then reportedly asked Cohen why he wanted to stop communicating with Klokov. But Klokov — who has nearly 350,000 followers on Instagram — made a post shortly after BuzzFeed's original report was published, claiming that he was "surprised" to see his name in the American news.
In order to determine what really took place between Trump, Cohen, and Klokov, Democrats now want Trump to be interviewed in the scope of Mueller's Russia Investigation. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, specifically wants to interview Trump about her role in connecting Cohen and Klokov, as well as about the Chinese trademarks she obtained for her brand.
There has been quite a bit of speculation in Washington as to why Mueller hadn't yet called on Trump in his Russia investigation. Last month, Politico suggested that Mueller was saving the president's children for last, because interviewing them in the scope of an investigation would likely provoke a president who tends to be extremely reactive. Legal experts told Politico that calling Trump in for an interview would likely give her father another reason to dismiss the Russia investigation as a "witch hunt" — or give him another reason to justify firing Mueller.
Moreover, Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee have demonstrated minimal — if any — interest in interviewing Trump, according to Newsweek. However, her husband, her oldest brother, and more than 100 other witnesses have been called in for interviews with Intelligence Committee staff members, and Democrats are likely to continue pushing for her to be interviewed as well.