Footage captured by documentary film-maker understood to show ex-president’s children privately discussing election strategies
According to sources familiar with the situation, the House select committee having to look into the attack on the Capitol on January 6 is paying close attention to phone calls and conversations between Donald Trump’s children and top advisers that were noted by a documentary filmmaker weeks before the 2020 election.
During an invitation-only gathering at the Trump International Hotel in Washington on the evening of the first presidential debate on September 29, 2020, calls between Trump’s children and top aides reportedly took place, according to the sources.
The film is believed to show the former president’s children, including Donald Jr. and Eric Trump, secretly discussing election strategy at a critical juncture in the presidential campaign, which has the select committee curious about the talks, according to the Vanity fair.
According to the sources, British filmmaker Alex Holder, who testified about the footage he and his crew captured during a two-hour interview last week, provided House investigators with the first information on the event, which was sponsored by the Trump campaign, and its existence.
The sources added that the filmmaker said that he had filmed over 110 hours of campaign material in addition to seven hours of one-on-one interviews with Trump, then-vice president Mike Pence, Trump’s adult children, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Holder’s revelation that he had been able to record discussions during the 29 September event, however, caught the attention of the select committee members and chief investigative counsel Tim Heaphy.
The select committee is closely examining the video of the event in addition to the content of the one-on-one interviews with Trump and Ivanka because the strategy discussions resemble those that senior Trump advisers had at the same time.
Trump’s senior former adviser Steve Bannon stated in an appearance with The Circus on Showtime on the evening of the first presidential debate that the election result would be decided at the state level and ultimately at the congressional certification on January 6.
“They’re going to try and overturn this election with uncertified votes,” Bannon said. Asked how he expects the election to end, Bannon said: “Right before noon on the 20th, in a vote in the House, Trump will win the presidency.”
The select committee, according to the sources, thinks that Donald Jr. and his fiancée, Kimberly Guilfoyle, received advice from others with similar views even before the 2020 election, which is why House investigators want to look at the Trump hotel video.
What the panel seems to be interested in is whether Trump and his children had any plans to interfere with the January 6 certification of the election, which could have been against the law, and to force a second election if Trump was defeated as early as September.
The holder is alleged to have testified that the event was secret, and Eric Trump waved the documentary filmmaker into the Trump hotel. Holder recorded the calls and at some time, he is said to have been asked to leave by Donald Jr.
Among the conversations captured on film was Eric Trump on the phone to an unidentified person saying, according to one source familiar: “Hopefully you’re voting in Florida as opposed to the other state you’ve mentioned.”
The call was one of many made by some of the people closest to Trump that Holder remembered in his film, dubbed Unprecedented, which will air as a three-part series on Discovery+ later this year. A clip of the video was reviewed by the Guardian.
According to the sources, Holder also provided evidence to the select committee regarding the details of the interviews. Holder spoke with Trump at the White House in early December 2020 and again at Mar-a-Lago and his Bedminster golf club in New Jersey a few months later.
According to the sources, the select committee was surprised by how incendiary Holder’s remarks and materials turned out to be. Holder showed to the panel, for instance, a difference between Ivanka Trump’s testimony to the panel and Holder’s camera.
Ivanka stated that her father should “continue to fight until every legal remedy is exhausted” in an interview she gave in December 2020, as previously reported by the New York Times, since people were doubting “the purity of our elections.”
Nine days prior to that interview, former attorney general William Barr had informed Trump that there was no proof of election fraud. Ivanka said, however, that she had “accepted” what Barr had said during her hearing with the select committee.