The Democrat-led House Jan. 6 Committee is now asking Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) to testify on the events of Jan. 6, making Jordan the second House Republican to be targeted by the commission.
In a letter to Jordan, Democrat Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) made a formal request on the behalf of the committee for Jordan to testify (pdf).
“We write to seek your voluntary cooperation in advancing our investigation,” the letter began before making a series of seemingly unrelated assertions about the events of Jan. 6.
“Despite the urgent requests that the President speak and instruct the rioters to leave,” Thompson asserted, “President Trump did not make such a statement for multiple hours as rioters attacked police and invaded and occupied the Capitol.”
This assertion is heavily contested.
President Donald Trump has insisted repeatedly that he offered to bring in National Guard ahead of the Jan. 6 demonstration, but that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) denied the request.
Former Capitol Police chief Steven Sund, who retired after being asked to do so by Pelosi, has repeated a similar account, albeit with different characters. In an interview with The Washington Post, Sund said that he had personally requested that guardsmen be brought in on six occasions. And on each occasion, Sund contended, House and Senate officials denied the request.
“We understand that you had at least one and possibly multiple communications with President Trump on January 6th,” Thomspon wrote in the letter to Jordan. “We would like to discuss each such communication with you in detail.”
He added, “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.”
The Jan. 6 Committee, created in June over the objections of nearly every Republican congressman in the House, is almost entirely comprised of Democrats. Only two Republicans, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.)—both fierce opponents of Trump—voted for and sit on the partisan commission.
Since June the committee, despite its unprecedented power to seize the phone and text records from anyone it considers a person of interest without a warrant, has found no substantial evidence of a premeditated plot among high-ranking GOP officials to overturn the United States government.
Over the past several months, the committee’s efforts have largely focused on those who had served in the Trump administration, including those who were no longer in the White House during the Jan. 6 rally.
For example, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who left the White House in 2017, refused to cooperate with a subpoena from the committee, as he claimed to be protected under Trump’s executive privilege.
The Jan. 6 commission responded with a contempt of Congress charge against the erstwhile podcast host. The House later certified the charge and the Department of Justice, breaking decades of precedent, announced its intention to pursue a criminal investigation against Bannon.
The same scene played out for Mark Meadows, Trump’s former White House Chief of Staff.
Meadows also refused the commission’s subpoena, following Trump’s advice to reject the subpoena on grounds of executive privilege. Like Bannon, Meadows faced a contempt of Congress charge that made its way through the House and was certified on Dec. 15.
Still, the committee has found no evidence that Trump or his staff sought to “overturn” the 2020 election through any but legal means—a fact that has prompted the committee to expand its search.
The first congressman to be targeted by the partisan committee was Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.). Perry quickly rejected the request to testify, calling the committee “illegitimate.”
“I decline this entity’s request and will continue to fight the failures of the radical Left who desperately seek distraction from their abject failures of crushing inflation, a humiliating surrender in Afghanistan, and the horrendous crisis they created at our border,” Perry said in a tweet thread.
Jordan is the second lawmaker to be targeted, a sign that the committee intends to continue to call GOP congressmen to testify.
Speaking about the committee’s request with Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade, Jordan said: “We’re going to review the letter, but I gotta be honest with you. I got real concerns about any committee that will take a document and alter it and present it to the American people, completely mislead the American people, like they did last week.”
Jordan was referencing a doctored photo presented to the committee by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
At one point during hearings over Meadows, Schiff presented as evidence altered and fake text messages that were allegedly exchanged between Meadows and Jordan. These doctored images contained a quote never said by Meadows and cut out critical context, a fact the Jan. 6 committee was eventually forced to confirm.
Jordan has yet to say whether he will accept the committee’s request.
If he denies the request, the Jan. 6 committee could try the unprecedented course of advancing a contempt of Congress charge against Jordan. Congressmen have historically been exempted from this criminal charge, but if Democrats did decide to take this course, it would be up to President Joe Biden’s DOJ to choose whether to pursue a criminal investigation.
Alternatively, Democrats could seek to punish the Ohio Republican through an official censure, which could result in Jordan losing his committee assignments.