Surely you have seen the meme in which a dog drinks his coffee, smiling a vague and empty-eyed smile as the flames climb the walls. “This is fine,” he barks as a blanket of smoke descends upon his doomed dog head. You know this relatable meme, this single image that so neatly encapsulates our current political climate. I think Ivanka Trump does, too. I think she channeled its glazed energy when, robot-faced and unflinching, she sat down with ABC’s Abby Huntsman this week and assured the nation that, with respect to a certain Russia probe, really: There’s nothing to see here. She hasn’t been paying attention and you needn’t, either.
True, we seem to learn more every week about the Moscow Project Ivanka’s father, our president, pursued during his campaign. And yes, the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the administration’s potential ties to Russia is closing in upon Donald Trump’s inner circle, their apparent web of lies growing tanglier every day. Given what looks (to many of those watching at home) like rapid deterioration, does Ivanka feel nervous? Is she concerned about anyone in her life, Huntsman asks, anyone she loves, perhaps say a haunted doll husband or even a father?
“No. There’s nothing there,” Ivanka insists, her face wooden, her eyes ice, her voice adopting the flat and hollow tone all us humans naturally assume when we must convey sincerity. “No. I have zero concern.”
Here, allow her to convince you herself. Tellingly, I think, the enthusiasm she conjured when asked about her stepmother — “Melania’s amazing!!” — sounded more authentic.
Despite the yawning void she believes underpins Mueller probe, Ivanka also went on to build a defense for herself — a strange thing to do when you’ve just insisted your family has nothing to defend itself against. Ivanka told Huntsman she “barely knew” anything, “literally almost nothing,” about the Trump Organization’s Moscow deal.
“There was never a binding contract,” she emphasized. “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. Nobody visited it to see if it was worth our time. So this was not exactly like an advanced project.”
Sure, this is fine. Everything is fine.