“Of course I talked to the president,” Jordan told members of the Rules Committee on Wednesday, in response to questioning from the panel’s chairman, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). “I talked to him that day. I’ve been clear about that. I don’t recall the number of times, but it’s not about me. I know you want to make it about that.”
Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), one of the two Republicans whom House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has appointed to the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, has previously suggested that Jordan could be summoned as a material witness as the panel’s investigation proceeds.
“He’s somebody who was involved in a number of meetings in the lead-up to what happened on January 6th, involved in planning for January 6th, certainly for the objections that day as he said publicly, so he may well be a material witness,” Cheney said in July during an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
In the months since the attack, Jordan has given conflicting answers as to his communications with Trump that day.
In a July interview with Spectrum News, the GOP lawmaker said he was not certain exactly when on Jan. 6 he spoke with Trump.
“I spoke with him that day, after?” Jordan said during the interview. “I think after. I don’t know if I spoke with him in the morning or not. I just don’t know. … I don’t know when those conversations happened.”
Then, in an August interview with Politico, Jordan confirmed for the first time that he spoke with Trump “more than once” on Jan. 6.
He told the news outlet that he didn’t recall the times the conversations took place but that he was “sure” one of the calls took place in the safe room on the Capitol complex to which lawmakers were evacuated during the attack, “because we were in that room forever.”
During Wednesday’s hearing, Jordan told McGovern that he remembered speaking with Trump “after the attack happened and we were moved to the chamber,” an apparent reference to the safe room. “I may have talked to him before; I don’t know,” Jordan added.
Later in the hearing, McGovern again pressed Jordan on whether he had spoken to Trump “before, during or after” the attack on the Capitol.
“I talked to the president after the attack,” Jordan replied.
“So, not before or during,” McGovern said.
“Right,” Jordan responded. “And I’ve been clear about that.”
Asked about his August comment to Politico, Jordan told McGovern that he “didn’t speak to the president during the attack.”
Jordan also said he had never spoken with Trump about a coordinated effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. I have no idea what that is. Of course not,” Jordan said.
The full House is expected to vote Thursday on whether to hold Bannon in contempt for refusing to comply with the select committee’s subpoena.
The matter would then be referred to the Justice Department. Contempt of Congress is a misdemeanor criminal offense that can result in up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Democratic lawmakers and Cheney argued Wednesday that nothing less than the future of American democracy is at stake in the congressional Jan. 6 investigation. Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the select committee investigating the attack, said the United States “came very, very close to losing our bragging rights as the greatest democracy in the world” on that day.
“That has nothing to do with a political party,” Thompson said. “That has nothing to do with anything, other than the fact that you should be committed like we are as a select committee to coming up with a product that we can present to Congress that, if adopted, [such an attack] will never, ever happen again.”
Jordan and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) appeared before the panel to defend Trump and speak against the select committee’s move to subpoena Bannon.
Gaetz argued that Democrats were focusing extensively on Jan. 6 because they want to divert public attention away from some of President Biden’s recent domestic and foreign policy stumbles.
“So here we are. You can’t get an infrastructure bill. You can’t get a reconciliation bill. You can’t meet the needs of the country. The border is a mess. … And you desperately need to obsess about January 6th. I would suggest that you need to move on, and the American people are ready to move on,” Gaetz said.
But the two House Republicans quickly found themselves on the defensive as Democratic members of the Rules Committee peppered them with questions on their communications with Trump and their views on the Jan. 6 attack and the 2020 election.
Both Jordan and Gaetz said they accept that Biden “is the president” but declined to say that he won the 2020 election. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Pa.) at one point wryly thanked the lawmakers for acknowledging that Biden is president but added: “I find your repeated endorsement of demonstrably false conspiracy theories about the 2020 election to be both uninformed and unpatriotic.”
At another point, McGovern accused Jordan of trying to “whitewash” the attack on the Capitol and of being “more outraged by people asking questions than police being … beaten here on January 6th.”
“You know, people lost their lives,” said McGovern, who noted that he was the last House member to leave the floor the day of the attack. “Others’ lives were threatened. The fact that somehow asking questions about trying to figure out why did this happen, who is responsible, that somehow that is a bad thing? Give me a break.”