Jan. 6 Panel Seeks Interview With Jim Jordan, a Close Trump Ally
WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the Capitol attack asked Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio on Wednesday to sit for an interview with its investigators, in the latest step the panel has taken to dig into the role that members of Congress played in trying to undermine the 2020 election.
The committee’s letter to Mr. Jordan, an ally of former President Donald J. Trump, says that investigators want to question him about his communications related to the run-up to the Capitol riot. Those include Mr. Jordan’s messages with Mr. Trump, his legal team and others involved in planning rallies on Jan. 6 and congressional objections to certifying Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory.
“We understand that you had at least one and possibly multiple communications with President Trump on Jan. 6,” Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the committee’s chairman, wrote in the letter. “We would like to discuss each such communication with you in detail.”
Mr. Jordan, a Republican, was deeply involved in Mr. Trump’s effort to fight the election results. He participated in planning meetings with senior White House officials, including a gathering in November 2020 at Trump campaign headquarters in Arlington, Va., and a meeting at the White House last December, where Republican lawmakers discussed plans with the president’s team to use the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6 to challenge the election outcome.
On Jan. 5, Mr. Jordan forwarded to Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, a text message he had received from a lawyer and former Pentagon inspector general outlining a legal strategy to overturn the election.
Understand the U.S. Capitol Riot
On Jan. 6, 2021, a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.
- What Happened: Here’s the most complete picture to date of what happened — and why.
- Timeline of Jan. 6: A presidential rally turned into a Capitol rampage in a critical two-hour time period. Here’s how.
- Key Takeaways: Here are some of the major revelations from The Times’s riot footage analysis.
- Death Toll: Five people died in the riot. Here’s what we know about them.
- Decoding the Riot Iconography: What do the symbols, slogans and images on display during the violence really mean?
“On Jan. 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as president of the Senate, should call out all the 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,” the text read.
Mr. Jordan has acknowledged speaking with Mr. Trump on Jan. 6, though he has said he cannot remember how many times they spoke that day or when the calls occurred.
The committee is particularly interested in what Mr. Trump was doing during the riot, Mr. Thompson said, noting that it had already receivedtestimony “indicating that the president was watching television coverage of the attack from his private dining room” before his legal team resumed the effort to “delay or otherwise impede the electoral count.”
Mr. Thompson also said the committee wanted to ask Mr. Jordan about any discussions involving the possibility of presidential pardons for people involved in any aspect of Jan. 6.
Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming and the vice chairwoman of the committee, has said that Mr. Jordan is a “material witness” to the events of Jan. 6. Mr. Jordan has said he will consider cooperating with the committee depending on its requests, though he also called the panel a “sham.”
Mr. Thompson noted that Mr. Jordan told the Rules Committee in November, “I have nothing to hide.”
Despite claiming on the House floor on Jan. 6 that “Americans instinctively know there was something wrong with this election,” Mr. Jordan has since said that he never called the election stolen.
Key Figures in the Jan. 6 Inquiry
The House investigation. A select committee is scrutinizing the causes of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, which occurred as Congress met to formalize Joe Biden’s election victory amid various efforts to overturn the results. Here are some people being examined by the panel:
Donald Trump. The former president’s movement and communications on Jan. 6 appear to be a focus of the inquiry. But Mr. Trump has attempted to shield his records, invoking executive privilege. The dispute is making its way through the courts.
Mark Meadows. Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, who initially provided the panel with a trove of documents that showed the extent of his role in the efforts to overturn the election, is now refusing to cooperate. The House voted to recommend holding Mr. Meadows in criminal contempt of Congress.
Scott Perry. The Republican representative is among a group of G.O.P. congressmen — including Jim Jordan, Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, Louie Gohmert and Mo Brooks — who were deeply involved in efforts to overturn the election. Mr. Perry, the first House member the committee has sought information from, has refused to meet with the panel.
Phil Waldron. The retired Army colonel has been under scrutiny since a 38-page PowerPoint document he circulated on Capitol Hill was turned over to the panel by Mr. Meadows. The document contained extreme plans to overturn the election.
Fox News anchors. Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Brian Kilmeade texted Mr. Meadows during the Jan. 6 riot urging him to persuade Mr. Trump to make an effort to stop it. The texts were part of the material that Mr. Meadows had turned over to the panel.
Steve Bannon. The former Trump aide has been charged with contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena, claiming protection under executive privilege even though he was an outside adviser. His trial is scheduled for next summer.
Jeffrey Clark. The little-known official repeatedly pushed his colleagues at the Justice Department to help Mr. Trump undo his loss. The panel has recommended that Mr. Clark be held in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate.
John Eastman. The lawyer has been the subject of intense scrutiny since writing a memo that laid out how Mr. Trump could stay in power. Mr. Eastman was present at a meeting of Trump allies at the Willard Hotel that has become a prime focus of the panel.
A spokesman for Mr. Jordan did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The committee asked to schedule his interview in January and offered to travel to Ohio to conduct it.
The letter to Mr. Jordan came a day after Representative Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican who is close to Mr. Jordan, refused a voluntary meeting with the committee, calling the panel “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,” Mr. Perry, the incoming chairman of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
The panel has been reluctant to issue subpoenas for sitting members of Congress, citing the deference and respect lawmakers in the chamber are supposed to show one another. But Mr. Thompson has pledged to take that step if needed.
Committee aides said the panel preferred to gather evidence from members of Congress through a voluntary process, but it would consider stronger actions if they refused.