The House select committee investigating January 6 has asked Rep. Jim Jordan, one of former President Donald Trump’s top congressional allies, to voluntarily meet with the panel as it zeroes in on Republican lawmakers who may have significant knowledge of events leading up to the US Capitol attack.
Jordan previously warned the committee that targeting GOP lawmakers in any capacity would be met with political retribution if Republicans retake the House after next year’s midterm elections.
Jordan was originally selected by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to be one of five GOP members serving on the committee back in July, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected McCarthy’s selection of Jordan, along with GOP Rep. Jim Banks, because she said their appointments could impact the “integrity of the investigation.”
Pelosi’s decision led McCarthy to pull all five of his members, which further soured the willingness between the two parties to work together, and led Pelosi to select which Republicans should serve on the panel.
The Ohio Republican is the second ally of Trump to receive an interview request this week. Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania has already declined the committee’s request to voluntarily sit down with investigators – vowing instead to continue fighting “the failures of the radical Left.”
Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, who chairs the committee, says in the letter to Jordan that the panel wants to learn more about communications with Trump on January 6.
“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.
The panel says in its letter that it has documents on file that show Trump was watching television coverage of the January 6 attack from his private dining room next to the Oval Office and that Trump, through his legal team, was trying to delay or impede the electoral count even after the crowd had dispersed.
“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,” the letter states, referencing in part an election-related “command center” for Trump allies at the Willard InterContinental hotel in Washington around January 6.
The committee proposes meeting with Jordan on January 3, January 4, or the week of January 10 when the House returns to Washington. The committee also proposes holding the interview in Jordan’s district if that were easier for the congressman.
Jordan’s office did not respond to CNN’s request for comment. Speaking with Fox News later Wednesday, the congressman said, “We’re going to review the letter.”
Sent text message
Jordan has been identified as one of the lawmakers who sent a text message to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows that the committee has in its possession. The message that Jordan forwarded to Meadows on January 5 outlined a legal theory that then-Vice President Mike Pence had the authority to stand in the way of the certification of the 2020 election.
A portion of that message was read by the January 6 select committee during its contempt report presentation before the full House voted to refer Meadows to the Justice Department to decide on possible criminal contempt charges.
A spokesperson for Jordan previously confirmed to CNN that he forwarded a text to Meadows on January 5 that was sent to him by Joseph Schmitz, a former Department of Defense inspector general. Schmitz’s text included a draft presentation arguing that Pence had the constitutional authority to object to the certification of election results from certain states.
The interview requests to both Perry and Jordan mark a significant step in the investigation and could lead to the committee issuing subpoenas to lawmakers who refuse to cooperate voluntarily, which would dramatically escalate political tensions.
When Perry declined to speak with the committee on Tuesday, the panel condemned his actions but stopped short of saying it would issue a subpoena.
‘I have nothing to hide’
Jordan has long been seen as a target of the committee. In August, Jordan was among a group of Republican lawmakers whose phone records the committee asked various companies to preserve. At the time, Jordan warned the precedent the panel would be setting if it went after sitting members of Congress.
In its letter to Jordan, the committee references the Ohio congressman stating, “I have nothing to hide. I have been straightforward all along” in response to a question about whether he would be willing to share the information he has about the events leading up to January 6.
Seen as next in line to chair the Judiciary Committee if Republicans reclaim the House, Jordan could be in a position to go after Democrats if he feels the committee is overreaching in its requests.
Jordan has provided a megaphone to the narrative that the 2020 election was stolen.
“I don’t know how you can ever convince me that President Trump didn’t actually win this thing based on all the things you see,” Jordan said in an interview on Fox News in December 2020.
One day before the committee released its letter, Jordan and fellow Republican Sen. Mike Lee participated in a phone “briefing” for supporters of the Conservative Political Action Committee, which is led by Trump ally Matt Schlapp, that centered around criticizing the House select committee’s investigation into the January 6 riot, according to a source familiar with the call.
The invitation, sent exclusively to CPAC supporters, touted Jordan’s efforts to “protect Americans from the January 6 committee’s expansive subpoenas and overreach,” according to a copy obtained by CNN.
This story has been updated with additional details.