Jan. 6 investigators are turning up the heat on the Trumps. GOP should run.

·3 min read

The House Jan. 6 committee is now asking former President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka to cooperate with its investigation into the violent insurrection that took place at the U.S. Capitol last year.

It is a truth stranger than fiction.

Things just went from bad to worse for Ivanka Trump and her father. In addition to an ongoing criminal probe by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, New York Attorney General Letitia James wrote in a Twitter thread last week that they have found ample evidence to support civil charges: "We have uncovered significant evidence indicating that the Trump Organization used fraudulent and misleading asset valuations on multiple properties to obtain economic benefits, including loans, insurance coverage, and tax deductions for years."

Not a political vendetta

This summer, outgoing Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance charged the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, with tax fraud. And in November, the DA's office convened a grand jury to examine whether to bring more indictments in a more than two-year-long investigation into the former president's business dealings, according to The Washington Post.

Trump himself has not been charged, but he remains under investigation after a years-long battle to get access to his tax records. The Trump Organization has responded with its own lawsuit against the attorney general, arguing that the investigations are motivated by a political vendetta.

In this Jan. 6, 2021, photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a rally protesting the electoral college certification of Joe Biden as president in Washington.
In this Jan. 6, 2021, photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a rally protesting the electoral college certification of Joe Biden as president in Washington.

But like many of his arguments, that's barely worth repeating. Despite the chokehold that Trump continues to have on many Republicans, facts are still facts, and feelings are still feelings. They are not, and never were, the same.

It's easy to understand why the House Jan. 6 committee would want to call Ivanka Trump in for questioning. It is important to document what those closest to him knew when Trump gave his "Stop the Steal" speech and the world watched, paralyzed with shock, as men in animal pelts and Viking horns assaulted the walls of the Capitol.

Even Donald Trump Jr. understood the gravity of what was happening during the violent insurrection when he texted then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, "He's got to condemn this s--- Asap. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough."

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Real-world consequences

Though the investigation is taking too long, it is a relief that things are finally moving forward, hopefully bringing resolution to what has felt like an upside-down world since Trump took office in January of 2017.

The really good part of all this is that this is not just an exercise in documentation to preserve society's collective memory of the near failure of democracy in the United States of America. There could be real-world consequences to these investigations. Namely, if the committee finds Trump and company did facilitate or participate in an act of treason, according to the Constitution, those people can never run for or hold federal office.

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In other words, Trump could never run for president again.

Carli Pierson
Carli Pierson

But even if Trump is banned from the White House, proceeding against the former president isn't enough. All the sycophants and family members who have been proven to be involved should be held to account: both civilly and criminally, as required by law.

And for those whose participation or omissions don't rise to the level of legal liability, let's hope this investigation serves as a warning to anyone against spreading disinformation in favor of short-term ideological and political gains. These gains have come with a big price tag: a gut punch to this nation's democracy.

Now that investigators are turning up the heat on the Trumps, Republicans would be wise to get out of the kitchen.

Carli Pierson is an attorney, former professor of human rights, writer and member of USA TODAY's Editorial Board. You can follow her on Twitter: @CarliPiersonEsq

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jan 6 investigation: Trump claim of political vendetta is pure fiction