The U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol recently subpoenaed five Republican U.S. House of Representatives members who the panel believes have knowledge of the events leading up to the attack, including communication with then-President Donald Trump. This list of House Republicans includes Ohio's Jim Jordan.
The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol sent subpoenas on May 12 to Jordan, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Mo Brooks of Alabama. The Republican members all had been invited to testify voluntarily, Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), said in a Thursday news release.
Three-paragraph letters Thompson sent to the Republican members said the committee seeks to respect members’ privacy, but that it is also compelled to seek information relevant to its investigation.
“The Select Committee believes that you have information that is important to its investigation,” the subpoenas read. “Unfortunately, you have declined voluntary cooperation, and we are left with no choice but to issue you this subpoena.”
It is unclear what recourse the committee would have if the members also decline to cooperate with the subpoenas. The panel plans to hold public hearings next month.
McCarthy told reporters on Capitol Hill he did not view the committee’s investigation as legitimate. He did not say whether he planned to comply with the subpoena. “Look, my view on the committee has not changed,” he said, according to the Capitol Hill press pool. “They’re not conducting a legitimate investigation. It seems as though they just want to go after their political opponents”
House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer, of Maryland, said the action was not an escalation of the committee’s investigation and didn’t warrant the objections from Republicans. “I do not understand this extraordinary reaction to pursuing a legal, appropriate process,” he said.
The committee accused Biggs, Jordan, Perry and Brooks of being involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. The Jan. 6 attack was spurred by a weeks-long campaign by Trump to nullify Joe Biden’s victory over the sitting president, based on the false claim that the election was illegitimate.
Jordan communicated with Trump on the day of the attack and had meetings “throughout late 2020 and early 2021 about strategies for overturning the 2020 election,” the committee said.
The committee had previously sought testimony from Jordan, who has repeatedly refused all requests to comply. The investigation panel is attempting to determine what role, if any, former U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration played in the Jan. 6 coup attempt, among other things. The violent attack that directly or indirectly killed at least seven people and terrorized politicians, law enforcement, staff workers and reporters in the Capitol largely was planned and undertaken by Trump supporters, investigators have found.
The committee is interested in Jordan's communications with Trump before and during the attack, some of which were recently released among a number of documents provided by Mark Meadows, Trump's former chief of staff. Texts from Jordan to Meadows were among them, including one in which he suggested that former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence "should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all." The committee also is interested in Jordan's meetings with former White House officials about "overturning the results of the 2020 election," per Axios.
Earlier this year, Jordan, who represents Ohio's oddly shaped 4th Congressional District, released a statement on Twitter saying that he would not cooperate with the committee.
During a May 13 interview with Fox News, Jordan said that he had not yet received the subpoena and claimed that the Jan. 6 committee had "been caught lying" about an email he had forwarded to the Trump administration. "We'll take a look at the subpoena when we get it, and we'll go from there," Jordan said. "It seems to me they were more concerned about coordinating with the liberal press than doing things the way you're supposed to do 'em."
Since then, Jordan has not posted on Twitter about the subpoena, but he has alleged that Biden is to blame for gas prices, the current baby formula shortage, the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade opinion draft leak and inflation. He also tweeted, "President Trump and his allies are constantly under attack because they stand up for you" on May 13.
Meadows, Trump's former chief of staff, has been held in criminal contempt of Congress for not testifying about the insurrection. It has since been revealed through his documents that a number of Republicans had talked to him about allegedly obstructing or overturning election results and asking Trump to diffuse the rioters at the U.S. Capitol. Trump is using legal proceedings to delay sharing relevant documents.
Jordan, a fervent Trump supporter, repeatedly made headlines in 2021. He has lambasted COVID-19 safety protocols, ignored science from virus experts, wanted to use anti-Asian language freely and falsely and repeatedly claimed that Trump would have another term as U.S. President if it weren't for conniving Democrats. But a reckoning may be coming, as actor/director George Clooney reportedly is working on a docuseries about the Ohio State sex abuse scandal, which Jordan allegedly was involved in covering up.
Biggs helped plan efforts to bring protestors to Washington for the counting of the Electoral College vote and was involved in attempts to pressure state officials to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Perry was directly involved with efforts to install Jeffrey Clark as the acting attorney general. Clark was thought to be willing to use the Justice Department to challenge the election results.
Then-Attorney General William Barr resigned in December 2020 rather than take orders from Trump to investigate phony claims of voter fraud. His successor, acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, also declined to investigate those claims, leading Trump loyalists to push for Clark to take over the department.
Perry also talked with the White House about other matters the committee is investigating, including allegations of voter fraud involving voting machines.
The panel’s interest in McCarthy appears focused on his role as a direct contact with Trump during the attack. The Republican leader communicated with Trump and White House staff before, during and immediately after the attack, according to the committee release.
Representatives for Biggs, Jordan and Perry did not return messages seeking comment on May 12.
The committee began investigating the violent insurrection last July and has since conducted hundreds of interviews and acquired many related documents. The riot was planned and undertaken by Trump supporters who wanted to overturn his loss of the 2020 election after Trump had falsely repeated many times that the election had been rigged in favor of Biden. At least seven people died and many were injured during the hours-long Capitol occupation in which members of Congress and the media fled the building or hid from the violence. Many rioters — include a number from Ohio and from Kentucky— have since been arrested and charged, and many have been associated with white supremacist movements, conspiracy theories and law enforcement.
Many of the Jan. 6 rioters charged with crimes have claimed during testimony that an allegiance to Trump had pushed them to attack the Capitol, according to the Associated Press.
A portion of this story was first published by the Ohio Capital Journal and is republished here with permission. Jennifer Shutt contributed to the OCJ story.