Editorial: Jim Jordan should comply with subpoena

A recent editorial by the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram:

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan should meet with the congressional committee investigating the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021.

Alas, we doubt that will happen.

The Urbana Republican, who represents portions of Lorain County, early this year turned down an opportunity to meet voluntarily with the bipartisan committee. The committee’s subpoena last week probably won’t change anything.

In a letter dated Jan. 9, Jordan bemoaned “Democrats’ nonstop investigations and partisan witch hunts.” He also called being asked to speak with the committee regarding an assault on the U.S. Capitol and democracy itself an “unprecedented and inappropriate demand.”

This from the same man who spent years politicizing the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., even admitted that the whole point of hounding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over Benghazi was to tank her chances of winning the presidency.

Clinton, it should be noted, had the fortitude to show up when Congress summoned her. If she could do it, surely Jordan and the other subpoenaed Republican lawmakers, including McCarthy, can do the same.

Yet they probably won’t. They have opposed any sort of investigation into the attack by a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters that isn’t conducted on their terms. McCarthy even tried to sabotage the work of the Jan. 6 select committee by appointing Jordan to serve on it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wisely said no to that.

That’s because Jordan was deeply involved in Trump’s efforts to subvert the results of a fair and secure election, not because of any widespread fraud (there’s no evidence of that), but because he didn’t like what the American people decided.

We know Jordan forwarded a text to Trump’s then-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, that read in part: “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.”

Thankfully, Pence refused to go along.

We also know Jordan spoke with Trump on Jan. 6, although we don’t know what they discussed. And we know that Jordan voted against accepting the results even after the Capitol was breached.

Jordan has information that would help shed further light on an unprecedented attack on the bedrock of our nation’s democracy. The American people deserve to hear what he knows.

It’s unclear, though, whether Congress has the power to enforce a subpoena against one of its own members in a matter such as this. It’s certainly possible that the committee and the Democratic-controlled House could vote to hold Jordan and other members who refuse to testify in contempt, but this is largely untrodden ground.

If Democrats do go that route, they’re likely to end up in a court fight that drags on for months, at which point the GOP may have retaken control of the House in the midterms.

Then there’d be a real chance Republicans would use their subpoena power against Democratic lawmakers. There’s no doubt at all that they’d shut down the select committee’s work, which makes time of the essence.

Not only that, but Republicans are already gearing up for all manner of investigations designed to hurt President Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats.

Indeed, as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, Jordan has been sending out a steady stream of letters demanding information on various topics. Naturally, this includes the limits social media companies placed on speculation about a laptop belonging to the president’s son, Hunter Biden, during the runup to the 2020 presidential election. At the time, there were real questions about the laptop’s authenticity and whether it was part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

Jordan also wants information on a proposed Disinformation Governance Board, Elon Musk’s offer to purchase Twitter, efforts to investigate those harassing or threatening school board members and allegations that Jan. 6 protesters who worked for the FBI had their security clearances suspended.

Jordan expects everyone else to submit to his oversight, while hypocritically refusing to subject himself to legitimate scrutiny. This after insisting he had done nothing wrong.

“If they call me, I got nothing to hide,” Jordan said in July of talking to the committee.

All right, Congressman. Prove it.

The committee is waiting.

— Elyria Chronicle-Telegram, May 17