Could Donald Trump turn on his daughter and son-in-law if he’s indicted?: One legal expert said this week that if he’s indicted, Trump might implicate his family members. But it’s hard to imagine that scenario coming to pass.
Last week, it was reported that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the daughter, and son-in-law of former President Donald Trump, had been issued subpoenas by Special Counsel Jack Smith, in order to appear before a grand jury.
The subpoenas to the president’s family members, both of whom served in the Trump White House, are in connection with Smith’s investigation into the former president’s role in the January 6 insurrection.
The move by Smith, per the New York Times, “underscores how deeply into Mr. Trump’s inner circle Mr. Smith is reaching and is the latest sign that no potential high-level witness is off limits.” These follow the subpoena to Vice President Mike Pence, who has vowed to fight the subpoena.
The subpoenas to Ivanka and Jared later led to some eye-popping comments from a former federal prosecutor.
Glenn Kirschner, who formerly worked in the office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, has frequently been an anti-Trump media commentator in recent years. He claimed this week, in multiple media appearances, that Donald Trump will throw those around him under the bus, including his own family members, if it means saving himself.
“Donald Trump basically burns everyone who comes within arm’s reach of him, that’s true of his cabinet officials when he was president, it’s true of his lawyers who end up being disbarred and potentially prosecuted,” Kirschner said this week on Sirius XM’s “Dean Obeidallah Show.”
“It’s hard to understand why people would compromise themselves in these ways, for Donald Trump. And here’s the beauty of it- once Donald Trump gets inducted, Dean, and he will be indicted- he will throw every single person under the bus, including his own family members, if it will reduce his prison term by just one day, or one hour. So hold on tight, because that’s coming.”
In a separate interview this week, on “The Stephanie Miller Show,” Kirschner said something similar and mentioned those family members specifically.
“Do you think he’s going to stand up for anybody about whom he has dirt? Are you kidding me? He will sell out everybody, including, I believe, his family members… Jared, perhaps even Ivanka in order to get himself a better deal.”
It is true that many other people have suffered from their proximity to Donald Trump, and that Trump has often seen loyalty as something that others owe him, without the need for him to reciprocate.
However, it’s hard to see how the scenario Kirschner suggests would come to pass.
For one thing, Trump’s style, throughout the many investigations of him, has been to loudly and repeatedly proclaim his innocence, as opposed to trying to cut a deal and implicate other people. Kushner himself, in fact, was questioned by the Mueller-era Special Counsel’s office in 2018.
That did not lead to his father-in-law trying to put the blame for Russian collusion on him; in fact, Trump argued and continues to argue, that he was innocent of everything. And both Ivanka Trump and Kushner testified before the January 6 committee.
Furthermore, Kirschner’s theory doesn’t really fit with the facts of the case, at least when it comes to the January 6 investigation. There’s no indication that either Kushner or Ivanka Trump is a target of the investigation; in fact, all indications are that the couple did not believe in Trump’s lies about the election being stolen, and both have indicated that they will not have any involvement in Trump’s 2024 campaign or a subsequent second presidency.
Kushner was returning from a trip to the Middle East and didn’t arrive back in Washington until later in the day January 6.
The only way Donald Trump could “sell out” his daughter and son-in-law would be to somehow say that inciting January 6 was their idea or that they pushed him to do so.
But Trump could not plausibly claim that, and doing so would entail him admitting to wrongdoing himself, which he has not been known to do.
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.