No surprise: Rep. Jim Jordan is refusing to talk to the House select committee investigating Jan. 6. Maybe even less of a surprise: His letter announcing that refusal is very, very long and filled with attacks on Democrats (Jordan, wordy? Surely not!) while dodging the reasons the committee might wish to talk to him, such as his conversation or conversations with Donald Trump on the day of the attack.
Jordan had on at least two previous occasions insisted that he had “nothing to hide.” In July, he told CNN’s Manu Raju: “If they call me, I’ve got nothing to hide.” Subsequently, as Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chair of the select committee, noted in his letter asking Jordan to cooperate with the committee, “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.’”
Now that the committee has called Jordan’s “I’ve got nothing to hide” bluff, he’s outraged at this “unprecedented and inappropriate demand to examine the basis for a colleague’s decision on a particular matter pending before the House of Representatives.” That is, of course, not what the committee is interested in. Everyone knows that Jordan’s decision to try to block the certification of President Joe Biden’s win was made the moment Biden defeated Trump.
The committee’s questions are about the planning of the events that led to the deadly violence of Jan. 6, about any discussion with the Trump White House of the possibility of pardons for people involved, and about Jordan’s communications with Trump as that violence unfolded. Jordan has claimed he can’t even remember how many times he talked to Trump that day, which is either an outright lie—Donald Trump rules this man’s world, and every conversation must be like a communication with the divine—or a sign that they talked so many times that the committee really needs to know about it.
A committee spokesman responded, “Mr. Jordan has admitted that he spoke directly to President Trump on Jan. 6 and is thus a material witness. Mr. Jordan’s letter to the committee fails to address these facts. Mr. Jordan has previously said that he would cooperate with the committee’s investigation, but it now appears that the Trump team has persuaded him to try to hide the facts and circumstances of Jan. 6.”
Jordan, a former member of the House select committee on Benghazi—an effort the current top Republican in the House admitted was about harming Hillary Clinton’s electoral chances—described the current investigation into an attack on the U.S. Capitol aimed at preventing Congress from certifying a legal election as part of “nonstop investigations and partisan witch hunts.” He also argued at some length that the committee should really be investigating Democrats, who are in his telling solely responsible for security failures. Mysteriously not mentioned are the delays in the deployment of the D.C. National Guard, which is under federal control. To say nothing of the idea that the very real security failures are a more important subject for investigation than the thousands of insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol and the leaders who encouraged them to do so.
The committee has held back from issuing subpoenas to members of Congress, but Thompson has indicated they would consider such a step if required—and Jordan is basically daring them to do it. And the thing is, Jordan thinks extremely highly of his own rhetorical skills. He loves to do his rapid-fire accusation and irrelevant attack thing in committee settings. If he thought he could win an encounter with the committee, he would want it live on television. And if Jordan doesn’t think he can win an encounter with the committee? Boy, he’s hiding some dirt.