Jan. 6 investigation: Rep. Jim Jordan said he has nothing to hide. Why won't he testify?
Rep. Jim Jordan says he has nothing to hide, but he won't comply with the investigation. He only supports committees that investigate Democrats.
Let’s say there was a Democrat who lost a presidential election but couldn’t admit it. He/she – with a well-known history for incendiary rhetoric – whipped hardcore supporters into a frenzy, telling them to march on the U.S. Capitol to "fight like hell” to “stop the steal."
And those rampaging Democrats did as they were urged, some viciously attacking and wounding law enforcement officers, forcing their way into the building and hunting for lawmakers – possibly to hang them by a makeshift gallows they had erected outside.
I’m pretty sure that Republicans would be outraged at this unprecedented attack on American democracy. They’d launch a full investigation, and demand that the American people learn the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Opinions in your inbox: Get a digest of our takes on current events every day
Republicans don't want to investigate
We know this, because that’s what they did after the 2012 terror attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya – an attack that left four Americans dead. It occurred on President Barack Obama’s watch, and Republicans saw a chance to go after not just him but someone they probably hated even more: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Republicans spent years burning through millions of taxpayer dollars and holding endless hearings – at one point forcing Clinton to testify for 11 hours – before producing an 800-page nothingburger of a report.
One of the key Republicans behind that circus was "Jacketless Jim" Jordan of Ohio, a member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi. You know Jordan. Zealous, intense, spits out words at a machine gun’s pace.
But when it comes to investigating a matter far more serious than Benghazi – the attack on our nation's Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, by a pro-Trump mob – Jordan wants nothing to do with it.
The man who wanted to investigate every alleged wrongdoing of the Obama and now Biden administrations says he won’t cooperate with the attack on our most cherished symbol of democracy and the wounding of some 140 police officers (wasn't President Donald Trump always saying he was a law-and-order guy?) because “the American people are tired of Democrats’ nonstop investigations and partisan witch hunts."
As Claude Rains said in “Casablanca,” I’m shocked, shocked to learn of this. Jordan after all, spent months insisting that "I got nothing to hide."
Nothing to hide? Here’s a tip for you young journalists out there. Whenever a politician says “I've got nothing to hide,” start digging.
If there’s nothing to hide, then why not help the bipartisan House committee get to the bottom of Jan. 6?
Jordan says he spoke to Trump that day. The select committee is also seeking information about his communication with Trump's infamous "war room" at the Willard Hotel, which included Trump's legal team and various White House staffers.
Gov. Larry Hogan on Capitol riot:Federal government must earn back Americans' trust after January 6
Jordan drinks deeply from his well of hypocrisy. He says the Jan. 6 committee’s request for information is “outside the bounds of any legitimate inquiry, violates core Constitutional principles, and would serve to further erode legislative norms." Besides, he adds, “I have no relevant information that would assist the Select Committee in advancing any legitimate legislative purpose.”
Perhaps most laughable of all is Jordan’s claim – all this blather was contained in a four-page letter to Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the congressman who chairs the Jan. 6 committee – that its requests for information “would set a dangerous precedent for future Congresses.”
Dangerous precedent? Like the years-long partisan witch hunt over Benghazi that Jordan helped pursue with his single-minded intensity?
A witch hunt, by the way, could be back in town this time next year, if Republicans win the House. Mr. “I have nothing to hide” has already said that there should be an investigation into Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the government’s most prominent figure during the pandemic.
For an on-again, off-again zealot like Jordan, why not dig into Benghazi again while you’re at it?
Paul Brandus is the founder and White House bureau chief of West Wing Reports and a member of USA TODAY's Board of Contributors. His latest book is "Jackie: Her Transformation from First Lady to Jackie O." Follow him on Twitter: @WestWingReport