Jim Jordan refuses to tell Jan. 6 panel about Trump calls after claiming he had “nothing to hide”

"If they call me, I got nothing to hide," Jordan declared before refusing to cooperate with the investigation

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published January 10, 2022 12:52PM (EST)

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said on Sunday that he is refusing to cooperate with the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, after previously claiming he had "nothing to hide."

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., last month asked Jordan to provide information about his "multiple communications" with former President Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021. Jordan has admitted that he spoke with Trump that day, but said he didn't "recall the number of times." Jordan has also repeatedly said he was willing to provide information about the calls.

"If they call me, I got nothing to hide," Jordan said last July. He reiterated during a House Rules Committee hearing in October, "I've said all along, 'I have nothing to hide.'"

But in a letter to Thompson on Sunday, Jordan said he would not cooperate with the committee's request to discuss the calls, as well as other communications he had with Trump's allies in the "war room" at the Willard Hotel, or with Trump's legal team, White House staff, and "others involved in organizing or planning the actions and strategies for January 6th."

"This request is far outside the bounds of any legitimate inquiry, violates core Constitutional principles, and would serve to further erode legislative norms," Jordan wrote, dismissing the Jan. 6 attack as a "Democrat obsession." He alleged that the committee's request for him to discuss calls he made while "performing my official duties" were an "outrageous abuse" of the committee's authority and would "set a dangerous precedent for future Congresses."

RELATED: Trump's coup accomplices in Congress: The House Freedom Caucus is a major problem

"Even if I had information to share with the Select Committee, the actions and statements of Democrats in the House of Representatives show that you are not conducting a fair-minded and objective inquiry," added Jordan, who was himself blocked from sitting on the committee by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after he voted to block the certification of election results on Jan. 6 and called the investigation a "partisan attack."

Jordan's refusal comes after multiple reports have suggested that he played a major role in Trump's efforts to overturn his electoral defeat. Jordan worked closely with then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to pressure the Justice Department to investigate baseless claims of voting irregularities and to press state legislatures to conduct dubious "audits" meant to cast doubt on the election results, according to the New York Times. Jordan was among the Trump allies who met with White House officials two days after the election was called to push Trump's "Big Lie" strategy, according to the report. On Dec. 21 2020, he met with Trump, Meadows and Reps. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., and Mo Brooks, R-Ala., the latter three of whom reportedly played key roles in organizing the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the Capitol assault. One day before the riot, Jordan forwarded a text to Meadows urging for then-Vice President Mike Pence to "call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all."

Committee Vice-Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said last year that the panel could subpoena Jordan because he was "involved in a number of meetings in the lead-up to what happened on Jan. 6, involved in planning for Jan. 6, certainly for the objections that day."

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The committee is particularly interested in Trump's actions during the riot as his allies pleaded for him to intervene and stop the violence. Thompson said last month that the panel has received testimony "indicating that the president was watching television coverage of the attack from his private dining room" before his lawyers resumed efforts to "delay or otherwise impede the electoral count."

Jordan is the second Republican to reject the committee's request. The panel asked to meet with incoming House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry, R-Pa., who along with Jordan played an outsized role in Trump's post-election efforts, to discuss "events surrounding January 6, including his involvement in efforts to install former Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark as acting Attorney General." Perry responded by 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," he tweeted.

Thompson said last week that the committee is looking into whether it can issue subpoenas to sitting members of Congress. If they can, he said, "there'll be no reluctance on our part."

The committee said Sunday that it would consider its next steps in the coming days.

"Mr. Jordan has admitted that he spoke directly to President Trump on Jan. 6 and is thus a material witness," Tim Mulvey, a spokesman for the panel, said, according to the Times. "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."

Read more on the Jan. 6 anniversary and continuing investigation:

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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Aggregation Bennie Thompson Capitol Riot Donald Trump Jan. 6 Jim Jordan Politics