At the height of the Watergate scandal, as Richard Nixon prepared to resign, the then-president still had a handful of unyielding Republican allies. One of them, Rep. Earl Landgrebe of Indiana, was asked about his perspective the day before Nixon left the White House in disgrace.
“Don’t confuse me with the facts,” the then-congressman told reporters. “I’ve got a closed mind.”
The comments came to mind again yesterday watching House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan on “Meet the Press.” NBC News reported:
Rep. Jim Jordan, the head of the Judiciary Committee, argued Sunday that federal agencies were handling President Joe Biden’s and former President Donald Trump’s classified documents cases differently. In an interview with Chuck Todd on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” Jordan, R-Ohio, suggested that there was a double standard between the discovery of classified documents held by Trump at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida and the vice presidential papers found at Biden’s Delaware home and a Washington office.
The Ohio congressman, who’s more frequently seen on media outlets aligned with Republican politics, will lead his party’s new panel on the “weaponization” of federal powers, and he was eager to make the case that his initiative has merit. Jordan noted, for example, the FBI “raided the home of a former president 91 days before an election.”
Chuck Todd pushes back on Jim Jordan: 'Biden didn't defy a subpoena'Jan. 29, 202301:48
First, it wasn’t a “raid.” Second, the search was executed at a glorified country club, not a house. Third, it was ahead of an election in which Trump wasn’t on the ballot.
But as the “Meet the Press” host was quick to remind his guest, the contextual details matter, too.
“There was nine months between the initial action. ... the [National] Archives requested documents before they even turned it over to the Justice Department,” Todd explained. “The subpoena was issued 60 days before they actually executed a search warrant."
The host went on to point to a series of related details, including the fact that Trump refused to comply with appeals from the National Archives for a year and a half. None of this, Todd explained, represented proof that federal agencies were somehow "weaponized.”
Jordan seemingly heard the host, but following Landgrebe’s example from a half-century ago, the powerful far-right lawmaker didn’t want to be confused by facts. “They raided Trump’s home,” the Ohioan responded. “They haven’t raided Biden’s home.”
This, naturally, led the host to again remind Jordan about reality. “Because Biden didn’t defy a subpoena, congressman,” Todd said. “[Trump] defied a subpoena. By the way, he had 60 days to comply.”
Reminded of these important details, which utterly discredited the point he was foolishly trying to make, Jordan — who grinned as the “Meet the Press” host presented him with accurate information — proceeded as if he hadn’t heard a word Todd said.
“They raided Trump,” the committee chairman added in response, returning to the arguments that had been shredded moments earlier.
Earlier in the same interview, Todd noted that if the “weaponization” committee were looking for actual evidence of an administration that tried to use federal agencies against its perceived political foes, it would seemingly have a responsibility to examine the Trump administration’s efforts to abuse the power of the Justice Department. After the host referenced a series of controversies involving abuses of Trump-era law enforcement, Todd asked, “If you are concerned about the weaponization of the Justice Department in the Biden years, why not investigate the Trump years?”
Jordan — who appeared on the “Meet the Press” set, seated just a few feet away from the host — acted as if he literally hadn’t heard the question, and proceeded to talk about Twitter-related conspiracy theories.
At times, watching the Judiciary Committee chairman push ridiculous talking points, it’s only natural to wonder how he’d respond to factual details that debunk his partisan crusades. Yesterday, however, we didn’t have to wonder: Todd tried to make Jordan aware of the truth, and the congressman simply filtered it in such a way as to disregard accurate information he apparently didn’t want to know.
By all appearances, the far-right lawmaker didn’t want to be confused by facts.