In Brief

Ivanka Trump questioned under oath in misuse of inauguration funds lawsuit

President’s daughter quizzed as election loser considers pardoning his children before leaving office

Donald Trump takes the oath of office from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Ivanka Trump has been questioned by attorneys who allege that Donald Trump’s 2017 Presidential Inauguration Committee misused donor funds, court filings reveal.

The Washington D.C. attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit in January alleging that the committee and the Trump family business, The Trump Organization, “abused” more than $1m (£746,000) in donated cash by “grossly overpaying” for event space at the Trump hotel in the capital, CNN reports. 

Depositions of witnesses in the lawsuit kicked off last month, with committee chair Tom Barrack quizzed on 17 November, while Ivanka was grilled by attorneys on Tuesday this week. 

The attorney general’s office has also subpoenaed records from Ivanka, first lady Melania Trump, and the committee’s former deputy chair Rick Gates, the court documents show.

“District law requires nonprofits to use their funds for their stated public purpose, not to benefit private individuals or companies,” said the District of Columbia’s attorney general Karl Racine. “In this case, we are seeking to recover the nonprofit funds that were improperly funnelled directly to the Trump family business.”

Alan Garten, chief legal officer at The Trump Organization, told CNN this week that Ivanka’s “only involvement was connecting the parties and instructing the hotel to charge a ‘fair market rate’, which the hotel did”. 

As the lawsuit continues, sources are claiming that the president has touted the idea of issuing pre-emptive pardons for his children, his son-in-law and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Two people “briefed on the matter” told The New York Times that Trump “talked with Mr Giuliani about pardoning him as recently as last week”, as the US leader prepares to hand over power to Joe Biden.

Trump “has told others that he is concerned that a Biden Justice Department might seek retribution against the president by targeting the oldest three of his five children”, the paper adds.

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