The special House committee investigating the Capitol attack is seeking the cooperation of former President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump, who lawmakers said witnessed attempts to persuade then-Vice President Mike Pence to intervene in the certification of Joe Biden's election.
"Ms. Trump apparently has direct knowledge of the former President’s attempt to persuade Vice President Pence to take action to stop the counting of electoral votes," Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in a statement, seeking a voluntary interview.
"As January 6th approached, President Trump attempted on multiple occasions to persuade Vice President Pence to participate in his plan. One of the President’s discussions with the Vice President occurred by phone on the morning of January 6th. You were present in the Oval Office and observed at least one side of that telephone conversation.”
The panel's request comes a day after the Supreme Court cleared the way for the transfer of hundreds of Trump White House documents that the former president had sought to shield from House investigators.
Thompson's request to the president's daughter focused heavily on her contacts and proximity to the president during the Capitol siege and in the hours leading up to it, saying that "Ms. Trump's role and actions on January 6th as the riot was underway at the Capitol are also a key focus for the Select Committee."
“The Committee would like to discuss any other conversations you may have witnessed or participated in regarding the President’s plan to obstruct or impede the counting of electoral votes,” Thompson wrote.
“Testimony obtained by the Committee indicates that members of the White House staff requested your assistance on multiple occasions to intervene in an attempt to persuade President Trump to address the ongoing lawlessness and violence on Capitol Hill.”
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said earlier this month that the committee had firsthand knowledge that Ivanka Trump repeatedly urged her father to call off the mob.
The committee also claimed that the former president's daughter, who served as a senior aide in the White House, may have been privy to information about the delayed deployment of the National Guard to the Capitol, as rioters overwhelmed police.
“The Committee is aware that certain White House staff devoted time during the violent riot to rebutting questions regarding whether the President was attempting to hold up deployment of the guard," Thompson wrote. "But the Committee has identified no evidence that President Trump issued any order, or took any other action, to deploy the guard that day.
"Nor does it appear that President Trump made any calls at all to the Department of Justice or any other law enforcement agency to request deployment of their personnel to the Capitol."
Separately, Thompson said Ivanka Trump may have knowledge about the White House campaign to overturn to the 2020 election by advancing false claims of election fraud.
“The Committee has information suggesting that White House staff and others were attempting to persuade President Trump to halt his statements regarding a ‘stolen election’ and were working directly with other supporters outside the White House in an effort to persuade President Trump to do so," Thompson said.
A spokesperson for Ivanka Trump did not immediately indicate whether the president's daughter would cooperate with the committee's request.
“Ivanka Trump just learned that the January 6 Committee issued a public letter asking her to appear," according to a statement. "As the Committee already knows, Ivanka did not speak at the January 6 rally. As she publicly stated that day at 3:15 p.m. ‘any security breach or disrespect to our law enforcement is unacceptable. The violence must stop immediately. Please be peaceful.’”
An attorney who has represented Ivanka Trump did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Much of what the committee is seeking from the president's daughter could be bolstered by hundreds of documents that the committee is due to receive from the National Archives and Records Administration after the Supreme Court late Wednesday refused to block their transfer to the panel.
Trump had sought to shield the records, arguing that the material should remain confidential so presidents receive candid advice from aides. The contested documents could suggest whom he talked with on Jan. 6, 2021, as rioters stormed the Capitol.
The documents at stake include handwritten notes and call logs for Trump and Pence, whose life was threatened as he presided over the Senate counting Electoral College votes that confirmed Biden won the 2020 election.
The panel's interest in Ivanka Trump comes as the president and his family is at the center of multiple investigations.
At the same time Thompson issued the request to the president's daughter, the Fulton County, Georgia district attorney moved to seek a special grand jury to investigate allegations of election interference involving Trump. The inquiry has focused on Trump's Jan. 2, 2021 telephone call to the Georgia secretary of state, in which the then-president urged state authorities to find additional votes that would tilt the state election in Trump's favor.
Earlier this week, New York Attorney General Letitia James, in an attempt to compel the testimony of the former president, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. in a civil fraud investigation, disclosed that investigators had "collected significant additional evidence indicating that the Trump Organization used fraudulent or misleading asset valuations to obtain a host of economic benefits, including loans, insurance coverage, and tax deductions."
Contributing: David Jackson
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jan 6 committee seeking Ivanka Trump's cooperation