Ivanka Trump distances self from dad’s election fraud claims as her own legal jeopardy grows

Martha Ross
The Mercury News

Ivanka Trump is among a growing number of President Donald Trump’s close advisers who want nothing to do with his legal efforts to subvert the results of the Nov. 3 election, according to a new report.

These advisers may publicly act as though they believe Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani can pull some kind of courtroom miracle to prove widely debunked claims of election fraud, Axios reported.

Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Donald Trump, attends a Veterans Day wreath laying ceremony led by President Trump at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020.

“But talk to them privately, and many say Rudy Giuliani and his team are on a dead-end path,” Axios writers Jonathan Swan and Alayna Treene said.

“Even Jared and Ivanka think this is going nowhere,” Swan and Treene said, citing people who have spoken to Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters, Thursday Nov. 19, 2020, in Washington.

According to Axios, Trump’s close aides, who include Ivanka Trump, are averse to getting anywhere near Giuliani and his planned courtroom drama.

“Most hardcore Trump sources have psychologically bailed, and are just waiting out the storm,” Axios said.

Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump is facing the possibility of some courtroom drama of her own.

A bombshell New York Times report Thursday described how Ivanka Trump could be enmeshed in two separate fraud investigations by the New York attorney general and the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The investigations are looking into the president’s business dealings as head of the Trump Organization. Ivanka Trump was a vice president in her father’s company before she joined his White House in 2017.

The investigation by Attorney General Letitia James is civil, while the probe by District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office is criminal. Both offices have issued subpoenas to the Trump Organization in recent weeks for records related to millions of dollars in tax deductions, the Times said.

While there is no indication that Ivanka Trump is the focus of either inquiry, she denounced the investigations on Twitter as politically motivated “harassment pure and simple.”

In this Nov. 2, 2020 file photo, Ivanka Trump speaks at a campaign event while her father, President Donald Trump, watches in Kenosha, Wis. New York's attorney general has sent a subpoena to the Trump Organization for records related to consulting fees paid to Ivanka Trump as part of a broad civil investigation into the president's business dealings, a law enforcement official said Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020.

“This ‘inquiry’ by NYC democrats is 100% motivated by politics, publicity and rage. They know very well that there’s nothing here and that there was no tax benefit whatsoever. These politicians are simply ruthless,” Ivanka Trump claimed.

The records requests followed recent reporting in The Times, which are based partly on two decades’ worth of Trump’s tax filings. The filings show that the president reduced his company’s income tax liability over several years by deducting $26 million in consulting fees as a business expense. Those fees were paid to unidentified consultants on numerous projects between 2010 and 2018.

Records suggest that $747,622 of those fees were paid to Ivanka Trump through a company she co-owned when she was also a Trump Organization executive, the New York Times reported.

On a 2017 disclosure she filed when joining the White House as a senior presidential adviser, she reported receiving payments from the consulting company, totaling $747,622, the Times reported. That amount exactly matched consulting fees claimed as tax deductions by the Trump Organization for hotel projects in Hawaii and Vancouver, British Columbia.

It appears that Ivanka Trump was treated as a consultant while also working as an executive for the Trump Organization, which made the payments.

CBS News reported that this situation wouldn’t necessarily pose a legal issue for Ivanka Trump, as long as she paid income tax on the consulting payments.

It could, however, raise questions about whether the Trump Organization’s related tax deductions were allowable, CBS News added. The Internal Revenue Service has been known to pursue civil penalties over large consulting fee write-offs it found were made to dodge tax liability.

The two investigations are related to allegations, made in news reports and by Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, that Trump had a history of inflating the value of some assets to impress banks and business partners, but lowering that value when seeking tax benefits, CBS News added.