GOP’s Jim Jordan Is Asked by Jan. 6 Panel to Explain Trump Talks
(Bloomberg) -- The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday asked Ohio Representative Jim Jordan to voluntarily agree to a meeting.
The request to speak to Jordan raises the stakes in the panel’s probe, because Jordan is one of former President Donald Trump’s highest profile congressional allies. Jordan, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, has publicly acknowledged talking on the phone with Trump on Jan. 6, as rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol building.
Jordan, who appears often on conservative news outlets and has been highly critical of the Jan. 6 committee, is now the second sitting lawmaker the committee has asked for an interview. Earlier this week, the committee requested to speak to Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, another Trump ally. But Perry has responded in tweets that he is declining.
The top House Republican, Kevin McCarthy, has also acknowledged talking with Trump by telephone that day, but has not yet been asked by the committee for an interview.
In a letter Wednesday to Jordan, committee Chairman Bennie Thompson cites Jordan’s telephone communication with Trump that day, as well as Jordan’s involvement in efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 election, as the reasons the panel wants to speak to him.
“We understand that you 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,” Thompson wrote.
He added, “Public reporting suggests that you may also have information about meetings with White House officials and the then-President in November and December 2020, and early-January 2021, about strategies for overturning the results of the 2020 election.”
He proposes in the letter that Jordan meet with the committee “on January 3rd or January 4th.”
There was no immediate response from a Jordan spokesman. But last week, Russell Dye, a Jordan spokesman, confirmed that Jordan was the source of a lawmaker’s text message on the day before the Jan. 6 attack to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
The text, according to the committee, suggested then-Vice President Mike Pence should toss out all electoral votes that he believed to be unconstitutional.
Dye said Jordan was simply forwarding an email of a legal article of how Pence could throw out Electoral College votes from some states during the certification of the 2020 presidential election.
Jordan has on several occasions publicly admitted he telephoned Trump the day of the riot, including during a public hearing in October. But he was unclear about when, exactly, that conversation took place.
Jordan at times has insisted he spoke to Trump after the attack, not during the attack.
“No I didn’t during the attack,” Jordan said, when pressed at that meeting by Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern about the timing of his conversation. Later, Jordan again said that he talked to Trump from a “safe room,” at the Capitol that day, but that was after the attack.
“I talk to the president all the time. I talked to him that day. From my memory, I talked to him after we were moved from the chamber,” said Jordan.
Pressed by McGovern if he would be willing, then, to speak to the Jan. 6 committee about that, Jordan responded, “I have nothing do hide.”
Tom Cole of Oklahoma, the Rules Committee’s top Republican, interjected during that meeting to Jordan, “You should not be on trial here.”
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