ABC News was criticized on social media for choosing The View co-host Abby Huntsman to interview Ivanka Trump, since Huntsman's father, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, works for President Donald Trump as the U.S. Ambassador to Russia.
During the interview, Trump insisted she and her husband, Jared Kushner, did not receive special treatment from her father to obtain top security clearances. Both Trump and Kushner serve as White House advisers to President Trump, although they have no political experience. They did not receive their full security clearances for more than a year and a half while they waited for their background checks to be complete.
"There were anonymous leaks about there being issues. But the president had no involvement pertaining to my clearance or my husband's clearance, zero," Trump told Huntsman. "This isn’t new. This was happening under the Obama administration, the Clinton administration."
EXCLUSIVE: Ivanka Trump says she and her husband Jared Kushner received no special treatment from her father when obtaining their top security clearances.February 8, 2019
Even though he only had a temporary security clearance, Kushner was already working for President Trump as a senior advisor on Middle East matters for more than a year before he received full clearance in May 2018. In January, Rep. Elijah Cummings, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government reform, announced a plan to investigate the administration's security clearance process.
Elsewhere in the interview, Trump told Huntsman she "barely" knew about the deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow that the Trump Organization worked on during President Trump's campaign for president.
However during the campaign, Trump never came forward about pursuing business interests in Russia. The changing narrative around the deal has been a part of special counsel Robert S. Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“There was never a binding contract. I never talked to the — with a third party outside of the organization about it. It was one of — I mean we could have had 40 or 50 deals like that, that were floating around, that somebody was looking at," Trump told Huntsman. "Nobody visited it to see if it was worth our time. So this was not exactly like an advanced project."
Trump said she had "zero concern" about the Mueller investigation or anyone she loves being involved. "I'm not. I'm really not," she said.
The interview with Huntsman was timed to the launch of Trump's Women’s Global Development & Prosperity Initiative. After segments were released, ABC News was criticized for picking Huntsman instead of a journalist with no personal connection to the Trump administration.
"So ABC had Abby Huntsman interview Ivanka about Russia? The same Abby Huntsman whose dad is Trump’s ambassador to Russia? The networks are announcing early in the cycle that they have zero interest in ethics," Democratic strategist Adam Parkhomenko tweeted.
Abby Huntsman, responsible of the ABC News terrible puff-piece interview of Ivanka Trump, is the daughter of Jon Huntsman, Trump's Russia ambassador. What were you thinking, ABC News? //t.co/enAwybQfr9— David McLemore (@dave_in_sa) February 9, 2019
"Wait. You mean to tell me ABC chose Abby Huntsman to interview Ivanka Trump — a senior advisor to the President — when her OWN FATHER works as an Ambassador in the administration?" one Twitter user asked. "How is this professional journalism?"
This is what happens when ABC hires the daughter of Trump's ambassador to Russia to interview Ivanka Trump about the Trump family's ties to Russia— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) February 9, 2019
Also, y'know, the fact that she, too, is the daughter of a Trump administration official //t.co/jVHUCF7BiG— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) February 9, 2019
Others criticized Huntsman for not asking detailed follow-up questions.
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