WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the Capitol attack on Wednesday asked Ohio Representative Jim Jordan to interview its investigators, in the latest step the panel has taken to dig into the role that members of Congress played undermining the 2020 election.
The commission’s letter to Jordan, an ally of former President Donald J. Trump, says investigators want to question him about his communications in the run-up to the Capitol riot. These include Mr. Jordan’s messages to Mr. Trump, his legal team and others involved in scheduling Jan. 6 rallies and Congressional objections to certifying Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory.
“We understand that you had at least one, and possibly several, communications with President Trump on Jan. 6,” Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson and the committee chair, wrote in the letter. “We want to discuss each of these communications with you in detail.”
Mr. Jordan, a Republican, was deeply involved in Mr. Trump’s attempt to fight the election results. He attended planning meetings with senior White House officials, including a November 2020 meeting at Trump’s campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, and a White House meeting last December where Republican lawmakers discussed plans with the president’s team. to the joint session of Congress on January 6 to challenge the election results.
On January 5, Mr. Jordan sent Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, a text message he received from a lawyer and former Pentagon inspector general, outlining a legal strategy to undo the election. .
Understand the US Capitol Riots
On January 6, 2021, a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.
“On Jan. 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence, as Senate President, should declare all electoral votes he believes are unconstitutional, as there are no electoral votes at all — in accordance with Founder Alexander Hamilton’s guidelines and judicial precedence,” it said. the text.
Mr. Jordan has admitted to speaking with Mr. Trump on January 6., although he has said he can’t remember how often they spoke that day or when the phone calls took place.
The commission is particularly interested in what Mr Trump was doing during the riots, Mr Thompson said, pointing out it had already received testimony “showing that the president was watching television coverage of the attack from his private dining room” before his legal team resumed efforts to “delay or otherwise hinder voter counting.”
Mr. Thompson also said the committee wanted to ask Mr. Jordan about any discussions about the possibility of a presidential pardon for people involved in any aspect of January 6.
Representative Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican and the committee’s vice chair, has said that Mr. Jordan is a “material witness” to the Jan. 6 events. Mr Jordan has said he will consider working with the committee depending on his requests, although 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 something was wrong with this election,” Mr. Jordan has since said he has never branded the election as stolen.
Key figures in the January 6 survey
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 hold it.
The letter to Mr. Jordan came a day after Representative Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican close to Mr. Jordan, refused a voluntary meeting with the committee, calling the panel “unlawful.”
“I reject this entity’s request and will continue to fight the failures of the radical left, who are desperately seeking a distraction from their abject failures of crushing inflation, a humiliating surrender in Afghanistan and the dire crisis that they have caused to our frontier,” Mr. Perry, the incoming chairman of the ultra-conservative 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 expected to show one another. But Mr Thompson has promised to take that step if the need arises.
Committee officials said the panel preferred to collect evidence from members of Congress through a voluntary process, but would consider stronger measures if they refused.