Perhaps still smarting from their two failed attempts to remove former President Donald Trump from office after impeachment, House Democrats continue to press on with a hyperpartisan probe of the Jan. 6, 2021, pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C. Republicans loyal to Trump are refusing to cooperate, however, and the majority party’s Select Committee appears to be grasping at straws – investigating only for the sake of investigating. Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) on Jan. 9 declined a request to appear before the committee and accused Democrats of using it “as a partisan cudgel against their political adversaries …” In a four-page letter to the committee’s chairman, Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Jordan delivered to House investigators what could be described as an epic smackdown.
His letter, which he posted to his Twitter account, detailed several facts no doubt inconvenient to Democrats who are trying to squeeze as much political juice as they can from the Jan. 6 affair before their committee sinks into obscurity once midterm election campaigning begins in earnest, just a few months from now.
One of the Ohio Republican’s objections to the committee’s activities was that they fall short of the accepted standard of validity for congressional enquiries. Other than impeachment proceedings or ethics probes – and the irony of Congress probing ethics violations is a story for another day – any investigation carried out by House members should have a “legitimate legislative purpose,” which, clearly, the Jan. 6 inquiry does not, as Jordan noted.
The GOP congressman went on to observe that the committee has avoided asking questions about the lack of adequate security arrangements for the Capitol, even though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who is responsible for securing the building, was aware in advance that the massive rally and protest was planned. Jordan also pointed out that the FBI concluded there was no evidence of a coordinated plot to overturn the result of the 2020 election by force.
Lastly, Jordan described the committee’s lack of transparency and its selective misrepresentation of certain facts that led him to conclude, “I have no confidence that the Select Committee will fairly or accurately represent any information I could provide.” To press the point, he provided three high-profile examples of committee members’ deceptive claims.
From Jordan’s letter to Thompson:
- “In a widely distributed letter, you falsely accused former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik of attending a meeting in Washington on January 5, 2021, when Kerik was actually in New York City.”
- “During a business meeting to consider holding our former colleague Mark Meadows in criminal contempt of Congress, Representative Adam Schiff, a member of the Select Committee, doctored a text message I had forwarded to Mr. Meadows.”
- “During a floor debate on the Meadows criminal contempt resolution, Representative Jamie Raskin, another member of the Select Committee, falsely attributed a second text message to a ‘lawmaker’ when in fact it was not sent by any Member of Congress.”
In closing, Jordan stated: “The American people deserve better than the Democrats’ incessant focus on partisan investigations.”
Dark Days Ahead for the House
The committee is still grappling with questions regarding its authority to compel members of Congress to appear, but that is not nearly as concerning as the implications of how the Jan. 6 enquiry is being conducted. When one political party can investigate the members of another, based upon the latters’ motivations for doing or not doing something – motivations that have been assumed by the investigators – then dark times are ahead for the House. What if the 118th Congress, which will convene in January of 2023, were controlled by Republicans who decide Pelosi’s motive for leaving the Capitol unsecured was to facilitate a physical attack upon lawmakers, in turn justifying the use of possibly deadly force against Trump supporters? Suddenly, Pelosi would find herself in some very hot water.
Of course, the speaker’s reasoning for not ensuring adequate security on Jan. 6, 2021, is not known. Perhaps it was sheer incompetence. Nevertheless, Republicans could, if they wished, determine a nefarious intent on Pelosi’s part and proceed with an investigation based upon that determination.
The events of Jan. 6 could hardly be overblown to a more ridiculous degree than they have been thus far. The problem for Democrats is that they cannot possibly prove there was any conspiracy to forcibly prevent Joe Biden from being officially declared the victor in the 2020 election. They can certainly conclude that such a conspiracy existed, even without evidence. At least half the nation will never believe them – and even if they were to produce what they claim is evidence, at least half of America will still not believe them. In the meantime, these Democrats have set a chilling new standard for congressional enquiries. The precedent now established could easily come back to haunt them when their control of Congress is wrestled away.
~ Read more from Graham J. Noble.