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Monday, December 09, 2019

Tag: jim jordan

Welcome To The Dead On Arrival Congress, Where Rhetoric Is All That Matters

I’m going to be reporting on everything these Republican goofs do for the next two years. To help me cover their lying, scheming asses, you can buy a subscription right here.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has successfully navigated its way into its performative normative future by winning its first two votes. They passed the Kevin McCarthy Defenestration Act, otherwise known as the House rules, and they passed “The Family and Small Business Protection Act," otherwise known as the We Hate Taxes Act.

Big whoop. The new House rules allow Kevin to wield his gavel unless and until five of the Freedom Caucus decide to take that freedom away from him by invoking their new powers to vacate the chair – aka, fire the Speaker – on a motion that can now be made by a single member. Our boy Kev isn’t merely walking on eggshells, he’s dog-paddling through raging rapids trying to keep himself from going down the 100-foot falls that he can see lying straight ahead.

Then they made good on their promise to cut the money for the 80,000 or so new IRS employees scheduled to be hired over the next decade, funding for which was built into the Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden late last year. Republicans brought back the so-called “Holman rule,” a provision dating to the 19th Century which allows the House to amend spending bills at will, cutting out stuff they don’t like (new money for the IRS), also allowing them to terminate federal employee positions they oppose, such as the 80,000 or so new IRS employees funded by the passage of last year’s spending bill.

That little legislative jewel is dead on arrival in the Democrat-controlled Senate, not to mention if it were ever to reach the president’s desk.

But who cares! They’re out there in the halls of Congress this morning giving interviews before any microphone they can find bragging about firing the 87,000 new IRS “agents” they claim will be hired over the next decade. A bald-faced lie, naturally: The Treasury Department has said that the money in the Inflation Reduction Act will be used mainly to hire customer service representatives, computer scientists, and to replace the 52,000 IRS employees who are scheduled to retire over the next six or seven years.

Only a small percentage of the new employees will be serving as IRS agents, but you won’t be hearing that from Marjorie Taylor Greene or any of her MAGA compatriots. They’re out there claiming they’re saving middle class Americans from being audited, when the truth is, none of the money appropriated for the IRS will be spent on enforcement of IRS rules on families making less than $400,000 a year. According to The Hill, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, an appointee of Donald Trump, sent a letter to the Senate last August stating “that the funds from the legislation would be used to up examination of large corporations and high-net-worth individuals.”

But try finding that bothersome little detail escaping the lips of a Republican member of Congress.

The White House announced that President Biden woul veto the bill passed yesterday by the House if it somehow accidentally ends up on his desk: “With their first economic legislation of the new Congress, House Republicans are making clear that their top economic priority is to allow the rich and multi-billion dollar corporations to skip out on their taxes, while making life harder for ordinary, middle-class families that pay the taxes they owe.”

Meanwhile, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which analyzes any spending legislation with respect to its possible effect on the deficit, announced yesterday that, if it were to become law, the Republican bill would lead to increases in the deficit over the next decade of $114 billion by reducing tax revenue by an estimated $186 billion.

So, every time a Republican member of the House opens his or her mouth and starts yapping about the deficit, a reporter on Capitol Hill should ask them about the more than $100 billion they just advocated adding to the deficit.

If I were a Capitol Hill reporter, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for an answer, however. With a Democratic Senate and a Democrat in the Oval Office, exactly nothing the House passes on a party-line vote over the next two years will become law. Everything the Republican House says and does will be performative, from Jim Jordan’s Judiciary subcommittee that is supposed to investigate “the weaponization of the federal government” to any sort of tax cuts they might be contemplating. The 118th Congress won’t be about legislating and laws but rather about rhetoric, pure and simple.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

Please consider subscribing to Lucian Truscott Newsletter, from which this is reprinted with permission.

Floor Fight Looms Over Kevin McCarthy's Troubled Bid For Speaker

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy heads into this week on very shaky ground. The wannabe speaker will have a tiny majority—four or five seats, depending on the result in the last uncalled race un California’s 13th District. He’s already got five GOP opponents of his speakership, enough to scuttle it.

That could mean the first floor fight for speaker in exactly 100 years, when Republican Frederick Gillett of Massachusetts had to undergo nine votes over a number of days, with a lot of negotiations and many concessions along the way. The leader of the breakaway Republicans, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, challenged McCarthy in the full GOP conference vote for speaker earlier this month and isn’t going to stop fighting.

“He doesn’t have the votes,” Biggs, a leader of the Freedom Caucus, told NBC News. “Some of the stages of grief include denial, so there will be some denial, and then there’ll be the stage of bargaining where people are trying to figure out … will there be some kind of consensus candidate that emerges.”

Biggs and his cohorts—Reps. Bob Good of Virginia, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Matt Gaetz of Florida, and Matt Rosendale of Montana—are all publicly opposing McCarthy. Good told Politico that he thinks there are at least a dozen who are solid “no” votes. The tally from that secret balloting in the GOP conference was 188-31. That’s a long way from the 218 McCarthy’s going to need, and a lot of bargaining that Democrats are already branding as “corrupt.”

A nonprofit group called Facts First USA, chaired by former GOP Rep. David Jolly of Florida and Democratic strategist Maria Cardona, has a memo circulating among Democrats to highlight just how much McCarthy’s going to cave to the maniacs in order to emerge victorious. The messaging in the memo could play to the Republican moderates, who could definitely play the spoiler role in this fight.

“Democrats should undertake a concerted messaging campaign over the next 5 weeks through January 3rd to brand McCarthy’s struggling campaign to win the speakership as a ‘corrupt bargain’ he is striking with ultra MAGA extremists in the Republican caucus to attain the 218 votes he needs to secure the job,” longtime Democratic activist David Brock wrote in the memo.

That’s not going to be hard, looking at what happened on Day One after the GOP won a tiny majority starting in January. That was the day of the press conference from Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, incoming chair of the House Oversight Committee, and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the expected Judiciary Committee chair, about their investigation into the Biden family and the whole QAnon Hunter laptop thing they’re into. Brock labeled it an “unhinged rant” in his memo, and he wasn’t wrong.

It’s not going to be at all difficult for Democrats to use this messaging, that McCarthy is going to make a “corrupt bargain with MAGA” maniacs and allow them to “run wild with any conspiracy theory investigation or impeachment in exchange for their vote.” We’re already there. He’s made the unofficial Q spokesperson, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a part of his ad hoc leadership team and probably promised her a seat on the Oversight committee. Her pal Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, the white supremacist whisperer, is likely going to get his Oversight seat back—the one that was stripped in the current Congress because he is so dangerous.

Meanwhile, Democrats are in total array as the leadership passes from Speaker Nancy Pelosi to a new generation. They’re also relishing the prospect of watching the GOP civil war play out after McCarthy and crew did their best to derail Pelosi’s very slim—and very successful—majority of the past two years.

“They’re going to be fraught with fractures and friction and challenges and apostates. I wish them well in trying to manage that crowd,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia in a Politico interview. He predicted even worse problems for McCarthy than his predecessors faced. “Paul Ryan and John Boehner both had a bigger majority, and they couldn’t exercise control.” And they both were essentially forced out by the maniacs.

The good part, should House and Senate Democrats manage to get as organized and efficient together as possible, is that McCarthy and crew shouldn’t be able to create a lot of damage legislatively. “I don’t lie awake at night worrying about the bad legislation they are going to pass. Because I don’t think they’re going to pass it,” said Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia.

What’s going to make life even harder for McCarthy is his pledge to end proxy voting in the House. It’s been effect for almost all of this Congress because of the COVID-19 pandemic. McCarthy can’t not end it at this point—he had such a hissy fit over it he took it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to even hear it. He’s got to end it, and that means that on any given day, he would have even fewer votes available to accomplish anything.

Unless he strikes a bargain with moderates and Democrats, assuming he does end up with the speakership. It’s just possible that the corrupt bargain label sticks hard enough to McCarthy that moderates hold out and vote with Democrats on an alternative speaker. It’s not terribly likely, but it’s also not impossible.

Those 31 votes McCarthy didn’t get in the secret ballot aren’t all Freedom maniacs—a big chunk could be up for grabs to allow that 218 votes to go to a consensus candidate from Democrats and the few dozen GOP moderates. Now wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants?

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

GOP 'Investigations' Rerun Is The Lowest Form Of Political Comedy

Now that the Republicans have eked out a tiny majority in the next Congress, their leaders have announced the party’s legislative agenda – zero legislation but endless “investigation.”

Nobody except small children could have been surprised by the House Republican announcement, which was like a rollout touting the next sequel of a mediocre sci-fi franchise. While this show too will attract diehard fans, it sorely lacks freshness or appeal.

In 1994, when Republicans took control of Congress for the first time in 40 years, Newt Gingrich’s first order of business was to order up investigations on every conceivable front. Both House and Senate Republican leaders named special committees to excavate the Whitewater “scandal” – a long-ago land deal in rural Arkansas that had cost Bill and Hillary Clinton around $45,000 after a swindle perpetrated by their business partner, a mentally ill operator named James McDougal they had met through mutual political associates. Despite the Clintons’ thoroughly documented financial loss, the Republicans and the media endlessly promoted a false version of the story that supposedly implicated the Clintons criminally.

Neither the Congressional investigations nor the parallel probe by the late Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr -- which squandered tens of millions of dollars -- ever proved any of the baroque assertions, which came to include a fantastic tale of the Clintons smuggling cocaine through a rural airport. And while those probes provoked episodes of hysteria in the press, none had much impact on voters, who reelected President Clinton overwhelmingly in 1996.

Flash forward to the Obama administration, which came under similarly hollow inquisitions by Congressional Republicans after the 2010 midterm. They busied themselves with conspiracy theories about the Internal Revenue Service and other smears, only to see President Obama easily reelected.

Then came the infamous Benghazi investigation, with yet another special House committee assigned to produce redundant nonsense after nine other investigations cleared the Obama administration and specifically Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of any wrongdoing. Kevin McCarthy himself famously blurted the true purpose of that fiasco, when he boasted that its entire motive was to damage Clinton’s reputation before the 2016 election cycle.

And now we hear again from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the excitable former wrestling coach credibly accused of covering up the sexual abuse of Ohio State students, who promises that GOP investigations will “frame up the 2024 election.” Anyone who observed Jordan in frantic and fruitless action during the Benghazi hearings -- especially that epic day when Hillary testified for 11 hours – can anticipate his upcoming antics. But he will face heavy competition from the equally manic Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who reportedly has elbowed her way onto the House Oversight Committee in a deal to support McCarthy for Speaker.

When Republicans take power on January 3, 2023, the political abuse of congressional authority is set on rerun. The coming attractions touted by Jordan and Rep James Comer (R-KY) focus on the international business dealings of Hunter Biden, alleged for years to have entangled the president and other family members. Promising proof of bribery, money laundering, and other offenses, the incoming inquisitors point to a laptop computer that once belonged to Hunter Biden and the already debunked claims by a highly dubious former business partner.

This is a revival of the smears mounted by the Trump campaign and its allies years ago, back when Donald Trump tried to coerce the government of Ukraine into framing Biden with a faked “investigation” in exchange for defensive missiles, which led to his first impeachment.

But back to our upcoming rerun: Remember how disgraced attorney Rudy Giuliani first showed up with that Hunter Biden laptop? And how he refused to let anyone conduct a forensic examination of its hard drive? Giuliani couldn’t account for its chain of custody, but we now know that persons other than Hunter Biden have tampered with its contents. As a source of reliable information, the mystery laptop still remains highly suspect.

Not much better can be said for Tony Bobulinski, the ex-partner of the younger Biden who went over to the Trump camp two years ago. Before the 2020 election, he told the Wall Street Journal that Joe Biden had participated in his son’s overseas business affairs and lied about it. But after extensive reporting, the conservative Journal found that the available evidence contradicted Bobulinski’s sensational claims.

By his own account, Hunter Biden is a man whose personal tragedies, self-destructive addictions, and financial pressures left him deeply troubled. Cynical Republicans have long targeted him for mockery and abuse. What we have learned so far about him and his father is not a story of the father’s financial chicanery, however, but of a bereaved and tormented dad trying to save his surviving son.

What will unfold on Capitol Hill in the months ahead will closely resemble past episodes of right-wing snipe-hunting. After the tenure of the strongest Speaker in memory, Nancy Pelosi, we will see the weakest in Kevin McCarthy. The Republican Party is now in the hands of Trump’s stooge "Gym" Jordan and kooks like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, mesmerized by Jewish space lasers, pizza-parlor pedophiles, and the injustice of prosecuting the January 6 insurrectionists. Prepare for fabrications, fantasies, and the lowest form of political comedy.

Jordan May Testify — But Only If Select Panel Shows Its Hand First

More than a week after receiving a subpoena from the House Select Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio has responded by telling investigators he will consider complying if they meet a list of his demands, including that the probe share any information it has on him that prompted the subpoena.

In a six-page letter to Committee Chair Bennie Thompson littered with accusations that the probe is unconstitutional, the Ohio Republican said he would “adequately” respond if investigators provided, in advance, “all documents, videos, or other material” they anticipate using during his possible deposition.

He has also demanded that the committee give him all other materials it has where he is specifically referenced and any legal analyses the panel has accumulated pertaining to the constitutionality of subpoenaing a fellow member of Congress.

A spokesperson for the committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

In related news: On Thursday, Politico was first to get its hands on a letter from at least 20 former House Republicans urging GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans subpoenaed by the select committee to comply with the requests.

Addressing the letter to McCarthy and Reps. Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks, Jim Jordan, and Scott Perry, the former Republican lawmakers stressed that they understood the rarity of a “congressional investigative body” issuing a subpoena to sitting lawmakers.

But, they wrote, “we also recognize that the subject of this inquiry is unprecedented in American history.”

“A full and honest accounting of the attack and its causes is critical to preventing future assaults on the rule of law and American institutions — and ensuring that we all can move forward,” the letter states.

The committee first asked Jordan to voluntarily cooperate in December, highlighting questions it had for him about his contact with former President Donald Trump before, during, or after the insurrection at the U.S Capitol.

Historically, Jordan’s public response to these questions has been wildly inconsistent. Last summer Jordan told Fox News he spoke to Trump on January 6. When asked the same question a day later by a reporter from a different outlet, Jordan initially couldn’t recall if or when he spoke to Trump on January 6.

But he ultimately bumbled through the question and said he “thought” he spoke with Trump after the attack.

Then, a month after that interview, Jordan told Politico he spoke to the former president during the attack. And last October, when testifying before the House Rules Committee, Jordan was adamant that he spoke to Trump after the attack but he also said he couldn't remember how many times he spoke to Trump that day, either.

It was only after several minutes of House Rules Committee Chair Jim McGovern (D-MA) pushing Jordan to get specific that he stated he did not talk to Trump during the Capitol assault.

Last February, the committee investigating the insurrection obtained White House call records from the National Archives that showed Trump attempting to reach Jordan on the morning of January 6 from the White House residence.

Another entry following it noted the call lasted for 10 minutes.

When this news broke in February and reporters asked Jordan yet again if he remembered speaking to Trump before the insurrection, he responded: “I don’t recall.”

But he did say that he talked to Trump after delivering remarks on the House floor for roughly five minutes on January 6.

Legislators were debating objections to Biden’s electoral vote in Arizona and Jordan’s remarks began just after 1:30 PM. Jordan then spoke again from the House floor hours after the riot had subsided, this time around 10:27 PM.

"I know I talked to him after we left off the floor," Jordan told CNN in February.

Investigators also want to ask Jordan about any communication he was privy to that took place at the Willard Hotel on the eve of the attack or on Jan. 6 itself.

Trump’s legal team established a “war room” at the Willard, an upscale venue just blocks from the White House. Using a block of suites there, the president’s attorneys, advisers, and campaign strategists would meet regularly to hash out a strategy to overturn the 2020 election results.

Public reporting, witness testimony, and court records have indicated it was Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Bernie Kerik, Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, and others who convened there, though it is critical to note that they were far from the only Trump aides, attorneys, or insiders who frequented the room.

All told, it has been estimated that up to 30 people attended meetings at the Willard where the overturn—and “alternate elector”—strategy was discussed in detail.

In his response to the committee’s subpoena, Jordan argues at length that neither the subpoena nor the committee are constitutional. His argument has become a de facto position for Republicans who have faced the probe’s scrutiny.

Though Jordan claims the panel’s request is invalid because the committee does not have proper representation of Republican members appointed by GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, Jordan fails to note that when he had a chance to vote in favor of a wholly bipartisan committee—evenly split between Republicans and Democrats with even subpoena powers—he voted against it.

McCarthy appointed Jordan to serve on the initial bipartisan committee proposed by Democratic leaders. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi rejected Jordan—and Rep. Jim Banks—and asked McCarthy to advance two new nominees to the pool of five GOP members he was permitted to appoint.

McCarthy refused to do so, negotiations ended, and the hopes of an evenly split committee were dashed.

As for the select committee itself, it was, in fact, also properly formed.

To stand up a special committee in the House, congressional rules dictate that a resolution is drafted and voted on. When lawmakers in the House drafted the resolution to form the special committee in 2021, this is exactly what happened: They wrote a resolution, imbued the committee with the power to have subpoena authority, and dictated the membership terms.

The House voted on it and a majority of lawmakers voted in favor of it.

A federal judge in California last January has dismissed similar claims about the committee’s unconstitutionality from election subversion strategist John Eastman.

“The public interest here is weighty and urgent. Congress seeks to understand the causes of a grave attack on our nation’s democracy and a near-successful attempt to subvert the will of the voters. Congressional action to ‘safeguard [a presidential] election’ is ‘essential to preserve the departments and institutions of the general government from impairment or destruction, whether threatened by force or by corruption,’” U.S. District Judge David Carter wrote earlier this year.

And just a few weeks ago, on May 2, in a different court—this one in Washington, D.C.—a federal judge handily dismissed a lawsuit by the Republican National Committee (RNC) brought against the January 6 probe to stop it from obtaining information about fundraising efforts the RNC premised on Trump’s bogus claim that he won the election.

Among allegations that the probe was engaging in a fishing expedition for sensitive party information, the RNC also argued that the select committee was invalid and its subpoena powers unenforceable.

“The subpoena’s valid legislative purpose is apparent enough to sustain it against this challenge,” U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly wrote.


Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Records Trump Tried To Hide Reveal Call To Jim Jordan Before Capitol Attack

Records that former President Donald Trump attempted to hide from public scrutiny have now revealed that he spoke on the phone with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) on Jan. 6, 2021.

The phone call between Trump and Jordan occurred hours before Trump joined other Republicans in an attempt to deny certifying President Joe Biden's election win. The call also occurred before the U.S. Capitol was attacked by a pro-Trump mob attempting to prevent Biden from officially winning the race.

CNN reported on Friday that Congress's Jan. 6 committee investigating the attack received Trump's phone records that documented the call.

The Jan 6. committee requested that Trump's records stored at the National Archives be turned over as part of the investigation into the attack. In December, Trump had asked the Supreme Court to block the release of his records, claiming that their disclosure was a violation of executive privilege.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled against Trump later in the month. Noting that President Joe Biden had decided against invoking executive privilege with regard to Trump's records, Judge Patricia A. Millett noted in the decision, "Former President Trump has provided no basis for this court to override President Biden’s judgment."

Jordan has been evasive on whether he spoke to Trump or not on Jan. 6. After telling a Fox News interviewer in July that he had spoken to Trump, Jordan later told another reporter he wasn't sure he had done so, then told another reporter he couldn't remember if he had spoken to Trump.

During a House hearing in October, Jordan would still not confirm the exact time of his Trump call. Since then, Jordan has refused a request to be interviewed by the Jan. 6 committee.

A spokesperson for the committee said Jordan's admission that he spoke to Trump on Jan. 6 made him a "material witness."

After his phone call with Trump, Jordan made a speech on the floor of the House arguing against congressional certification of the election results. In his speech, Jordan invoked debunked conspiracies about the integrity of the election, echoing other comments he had been making at the time.

The false arguments offered by Jordan, Trump, and many other Republicans were later echoed by the mob that attacked the Capitol. Several called for hanging then-Vice President Mike Pence, who had refused to entertain Trump's demand that he not certify the election.

More than 768 people have been charged with federal crimes in connection to the Capitol attack.

Ultimately, 147 Republican members of Congress voted against certification, which would have invalidated the votes of millions of voters including the more than 81 million in the majority who voted for Biden.

The effort was unsuccessful, and Biden's election win was certified.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

More Republicans Claim Credit For Infrastructure Bill They Opposed

Republicans have adamantly fought against President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan but now a growing list of them are taking credit for the funding provided by the same plan they opposed.

According to HuffPost, over the last several days, several Republican lawmakers have issued press releases praising funding that will be used to improve United States highways and other infrastructure. On Wednesday, January 19, Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA) described the $829 million in funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve infrastructure along the Mississippi River as “game-changing.”

“Over 60 percent of our nation’s grain exports travel through this lock and dam system, and it is a massive economic engine for the entire state,” Hinson said in a statement.

“That’s why I helped lead a bipartisan group of my colleagues in urging the Administration to prioritize funding for these essential upgrades," she added, "I’ll always fight to ensure Iowans’ taxpayer dollars are reinvested at home in Iowa."

However, Hinson's latest remarks differ vastly from her stance back in November. At the time, she described the package as “a raw deal for Iowans” and “spending at its worst,” according to a statement given to HuffPost by her spokeswoman, Sophie Seid.

“Congresswoman Hinson opposed the infrastructure package because it was tied to trillions of other spending in the House,” Seid, said in a statement. “Since the bill was signed into law, this money was going to be spent regardless. If there’s federal money on the table she is, of course, going to do everything she can to make sure it is reinvested in Iowa.”

Another Republican lawmaker in Texas also lauded the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' funding announcement on Wednesday. Since the funds will also help to mitigate flooding in Fort Worth, Texas, Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) verbalized her support for the bill.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) also released statements touting the infrastructure funding announcement.

“When I voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, I was voting for exactly this type of federal support for critical infrastructure that Iowans depend on,” Grassley said in a statement.

Grassley and Blunt were among the 19 Senate Republicans who voted in favor of the bill.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Select Committee Asks To Question McCarthy -- But He Won't Appear Voluntarily

By Jan Wolfe

(Reuters) -The House Select Committee investigating the deadly January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol asked House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday to voluntarily answer questions about Donald Trump's actions on the day of the riot.

In a letter to McCarthy released publicly, the House of Representatives Select Committee requested his testimony on a range of topics, including his conversations with the former president before, during, and after the attack.

"We also must learn about how the President's plans for January 6 came together, and all the other ways he attempted to alter the results of the election," the Select Committee's chairman, Bennie Thompson, said in the letter.

The committee is also investigating whether Trump suggested to McCarthy what he should say publicly and to investigators about their conversations on the day of the attack, according to the letter. McCarthy and Trump met on January 28, 2021, in Palm Beach, Florida.

A spokesman for McCarthy did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Later McCarthy's office issued a statement rejecting the committee's request.

"As a representative and the leader of the minority party, it is with neither regret nor satisfaction that I have concluded to not participate with this select committee’s abuse of power that stains this institution today and will harm it going forward," McCarthy said.

The panel had previously asked another Trump ally in Congress, Representative Jim Jordan, to disclose conversations he had with Trump on January 6, 2021.

Jordan said on Sunday he would not cooperate with the committee's investigating, calling it illegitimate.

Two Republicans, Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, are members of the committee.

Thompson has said the panel is looking into whether it has the authority to issue subpoenas to congressional Republicans to force their cooperation.

The Select Committee has interviewed more than 340 witnesses and issued dozens of subpoenas as it investigates the deadly storming of the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters as lawmakers were certifying President Joe Biden's election victory.

The committee is aiming to release an interim report in the summer and a final report in the fall, a source familiar with the investigation said last month.

The committee's members have said they will consider passing along evidence of criminal conduct by Trump to the Justice Department. Such a move, known as a criminal referral, would be largely symbolic but would increase the political pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland to charge the former president.

One police officer who battled rioters died the day after the attack and four who guarded the Capitol later died by suicide. Four rioters also died, including a woman who was shot by a police officer while trying to climb through a shattered window.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Scott Malone and Sandra Maler)

Select Committee Calls Jordan — Who May Risk Arrest If He Balks

On Wednesday, Rep. Jim Jordan received a letter from the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, inviting him to voluntarily appear before the committee and discuss “in detail” his communications with Donald Trump on January 6. And January 5. And every other date. The committee would also like to hear about Jordan’s communications with Trump’s campaign staff and legal team involved in planning the multi-stage coup.

This letter was phrased in a way that acknowledges the extraordinary nature of a House committee call for a member of the House to testify. It’s also phrased in a way that makes it clear the committee already knows Jordan was deeply involved in planning the attempted overthrow of the legitimate government. Mostly because Jordan can’t stop running his mouth when talking to right-wing media. It’s not so much that the letter is couched in a subtle threat that failure to cooperate will net Jordan a subpoena, even if the evidence comes out anyway. Because it’s really not that subtle.

On Wednesday evening, Jordan did what any Republican called to tell the truth before the nation does: He went on Fox News to whine and complain that the committee isn’t playing fair. But if Jordan thinks that he can just join the long queue of Trump advisers who are doing their best to delay until an expected Republican victory in 2022 can bail them out, he may be surprised. Jim Jordan could find himself arrested.

As The Hill reports, Jordan went on Fox to speak with Brian Kilmeade—who happens to have also sent texts to the White House on January 6, and might be facing his own request to testify—and explain that he has “concerns” about the select committee. In particular, he alleged that the committee has been “altering documents.”

“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,” said Jordan.

That reference to “altering documents” apparently refers to how Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) read part of a Jordan text earlier in the week, rather than giving the whole thing. The portion that Schiff read was repeating a portion of the coup plot indicating that Mike Pence "should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all." Because Schiff didn’t read the full text, Jordan is accusing him of altering documents.

The full text doesn’t make this better. If anything, it shows how serious Jordan was about backing the planned coup.

“On January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all—in accordance with guidance from founding father Alexander Hamilton and judicial precedence. ‘No legislative act,’ wrote Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 78, ‘contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.’ The court in Hubbard v. Lowe reinforced this truth: ‘That an unconstitutional statute is not a law at all is a proposition no longer open to discussion.’ 226 F. 135, 137 (SDNY 1915), appeal dismissed, 242 U.S. 654 (1916). Following this rationale, an unconstitutionally appointed elector, like an unconstitutionally enacted statute, is no elector at all.”


Nothing that Schiff omitted lessens the impact of what Jordan wrote in any way. In fact, the full text is much worse. The talk about “altering documents” is simply Jordan mulling an excuse not to appear—in this case, an excuse that was also regularly aired on Fox during Trump’s impeachment hearings.

But as MSNBC reports, Jordan might want to think twice about simply refusing to show up before the select committee. As one of six Republican representatives known to have worked directly with Trump and his campaign to overturn the outcome of the election, Jordan is of keen interest to the committee, and a key participant in events leading up to January 6.

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) —who brought would-be attorney-general Jeffery Clark to the White House—has already refused to appear before the committee. If Jordan joins Perry in refusing to provide vital documents and testimony, the House could be entering unknown territory.

So what happens if Perry—or, for example, his fellow schemers Jordan and Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas—gets a subpoena? The short answer is that we don’t really know — there’s never been a situation like this before. “There is no established historical or legal precedent regarding congressional power to enforce subpoenas against members of Congress,” law professor Kimberly Wehle wrote in The Atlantic in August. “But if the bipartisan committee has to defend the subpoenas in federal court, it could make a strong argument that the Constitution allows a court to order compliance.”

Of course, Jordan, Perry, Gohmert, et. al, would be happy to join the long line of Republicans now facing court cases over subpoenas from the select committee. Stonewalling until the GOP rides in to save them on the back of an angry midterm is the bet they are all making. However, there is one thing that keeps getting mentioned, then carefully packed away again—the power of inherent contempt.Congress’ ability to simply arrest someone directly, without going through a request to the DOJ and a long parade through the ladder of courts, hasn’t been trotted out in a long time. But a special case … could be a special case.

While the discussion is on shakier ground with private citizens, the fact is that each house of Congress is explicitly allowed to make its own rules under the Constitution. It is also then allowed to enforce those rules as it sees fit, granting it the power of censure and expulsion. And courts have yet to rule on how long, say, a member of Congress could be held while defying a lawful subpoena.

The prospect that Jim Jordan will actually be locked up in some repurposed storeroom beneath the House chambers remains slim. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to start very visibly clearing out some space and testing some padlocks, just to make sure that Jordan, along with the other five Republicans at the top of the list, knows the possibility is still there.

If the Senate can be harangued for failing to end the filibuster even for the purpose of saving democracy, then the same pressure should be applied to the House when it comes to inherent contempt. No one likes the idea. That doesn’t mean it isn’t necessary.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos