Capitol riot committee wants info from Jim Jordan on his communication with Trump

Mr Jordan is the second member of congress to be asked to give evidence before the committee investigating the worst attack on the Capitol since 1814

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Wednesday 22 December 2021 21:11
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The House select committee investigating the 6 January insurrection has requested testimony from Representative Jim Jordan regarding his communications with former president Donald Trump on the day of the worst attack on the Capitol since the 1814 Burning of Washington.

In a letter to Mr Jordan asking him to voluntarily meet with committee members to give evidence, select committee chairman Bennie Thompson wrote that the committee understands that Mr Jordan “had at least one and possibly multiple communications with President Trump on January 6th”.

“We would like to discuss each such communication with you in detail. And we also wish to inquire about any communications you had on January 5th or 6th with those in the Willard War Room, the Trump legal team, White House personnel or others involved in organizing or planning the actions and strategies for January 6th,” Mr Thompson wrote.

He added that the select committee would also like to ask the Ohio Republican about information he may have “about meetings with White House officials and the then-President in November and December 2020, and early-January 2021,” as well as about Mr Trump’s “strategies for overturning the election” and discussions of possible presidential pardons for “individuals involved in any aspect of January 6th or the planning for January 6th”.

“When you were asked during a Rules Committee hearing on October 20, 2021, whether you would be willing to share with the Select Committee the information you have regarding January 6th and the events leading up to that day, you responded, “I’ve said all along, ‘I have nothing to hide.’ I’ve been straightforward all along,” Mr Thompson wrote, adding that the committee wants to accommodate Mr Jordan’s schedule and suggesting that he appear on either 3 or 4 January, or on a different date the week of 10 January after the House returns to Washington to open the second session of the 117th Congress.

Alternatively, Mr Thompson suggested that the committee would be willing to travel to Mr Jordan’s Ohio district to meet with him if that would be “preferable” to the congressman.

Mr Jordan, who is in his seventh term representing Ohio’s 4th Congressional District, was one of the Republican members initially named to the GOP side of the select committee by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, but his participation in the Capitol attack probe was rejected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in part because Mr Jordan might be called as a witness before the committee.

In response, Mr McCarthy pulled all of his proposed picks from the committee, leaving Ms Pelosi to add two Republicans who had voted to impeach Mr Trump in the wake of the 6 January attack — Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger — to the bipartisan panel.

In the months since the attack, Mr Jordan has offered conflicting accounts of whether he spoke with Mr Trump the day a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol in hopes of preventing Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.

In July, the former Ohio State University wrestling coach told a Spectrum News reporter that he had spoken to Mr Trump on 6 January, but became flustered and began stammering when asked about whether his conversations with the the-president occurred before, during, or after the attack.

“I think after. I don’t know if I spoke with him in the morning or not. I just don’t know, I’d have to go back and, I mean I don’t, I don’t, I don’t know that, when those conversations happened, but what I know is I spoke with him all the time” he said.

Mr Jordan also struggled to recall when he’d spoken with Mr Trump that day when he testified before the House Rules Committee in October.

When pressed by Rules Committee chairman James McGovern as to the timing of any phone calls with Mr Trump, Mr Jordan replied that he remembered speaking with Mr Trump “after the attack happened and we were moved to the chamber,” which appeared to be a reference to a safe room House members were relocated to while the pro-Trump mob attempted to breach the doors of the House chamber.

He later added: “I may have talked to him before...I don’t know”.

Mr Jordan is the second GOP House member to receive a request to give evidence before the select committee.

On Monday, Mr Thompson sent a letter to Pennsylvania Representative Scott Perry, another Trump ally and the incoming chair of the House Freedom Caucus, asking him to voluntarily appear for an interview.

Mr Perry replied in a statement posted to his Twitter account in which he said he would refuse to cooperate with the committee and called it “illegitimate, and not duly constituted under the rules of the US House of Representatives”.

In response, a select committee spokesperson said Mr Perry had “fail[ed] to note that multiple federal courts, acting pursuant to Article 3 of our Constitution, have already rejected the former president’s claims that the committee lacks an appropriate legislative purpose”.

“The Select Committee prefers to gather relevant evidence from members cooperatively, but if members with directly relevant information decline to cooperate and instead endeavor to cover up, the Select Committee will consider seeking such information using other tools,” the spokesperson added.

A spokesperson for Mr Jordan did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Independent.

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