Trump Kushner has been trying everything she can to distance herself from her family’s legal troubles and salvage what’s left of her reputation, but so far nothing has worked. And according to both a legal analyst and a crisis communications expert, things probably won’t turn around for her anytime soon.
Quick recap: The former first daughter is currently being sued, along with her dad and brothers Don Jr. and Eric, by New York Attorney General Letitia James in a massive civil fraud lawsuit that accuses the Trumps of lying about property values to secure cheaper loans for the Trump Organization.
In addition to imposing a $250 million fine on the company, James is seeking to bar the Trumps from conducting business in the state of New York for the rest of their lives.
Ivanka has been doing anything and everything she can to weasel her way out of the situation–from requesting the trial be delayed (New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, who’s been overseeing the case, denied her request) by claiming she had nothing to do with any alleged fraud, to ditching the family lawyers, who until recently had been representing her and her brothers, for her own legal squad (as of late April, she is being solely represented by attorney Bennet Moskowitz).
It’s everyone for themselves…
“It’s a little late in the game for her to be rebranding, although it makes a lot of sense from a legal perspective,” legal analyst and attorney Andrew Lieb told Insider over the weekend.
“Having all of these people—when it comes to Trump, Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka—with the same lawyer, there could end up being conflict of interest issues. I think there’s probably something going on here where there’s infighting because I find that families all love each other until they’re all liable for $250 million.”
Earlier this month, James’ office accused Ivanka of stonewalling by withholding documents being requested during the discovery phase on the case, which ends next week. Specifically, they accused Ivanka of hanging onto thousands and thousands of emails she sent between 2014 and 2017.
When asked what the hold up was, Ivanka’s camp gave “no substantive answer” for the delay.
“Defendants have either ignored the inquiries, provided non-substantive responses, or passed the buck to counsel no longer engaged in the case,” James’ office claimed in a court filing, adding, “the time to meet-and-confer on these issues has long since passed.”
In response, Ivanka assured the court that “there has been no lack of diligence and no stonewalling”. Evidently, she’s just been too busy playing polo at the National Polo Center in Wellington, riding camels in the deserts of Egypt, and sitting courtside at Miami Heat games to dig through her old email communications.
Insider also spoke with a crisis communications expert familiar with Ivanka’s situation who echoed Lieb’s remarks, saying that she can try as hard as she wants to distance herself from her family and rebrand her image, but “the reality is you have the same name, so there’s going to be an association.”
“Right now? Most people are not going to care what she does, as long as her father is a viable candidate for the presidency, there is a significant portion of the population that will not have any interest in the reintroduction of Ivanka Trump into the general conversation.”
Lieb added that Ivanka’s best move would probably be to lean into being a Kushner, since it’s “a lot more stable brand, a lot less visible brand. They’ve got a lot going on over in the Kushner clan, and she has her kids and her family. That’s a different world.”
The only problem there?
She and Jared have purportedly been on the rocks for months, with divorce rumors swirling since well before the holidays.
Ivanka has until June 5 to hand over the email communications being requested by James’ office or face serious penalty. Judge Engoron has said the trail will begin October 2 “come hell or high water.”
It’s not totally clear what the former first daughter’s end game is, or if she even has one.