As the scandal surrounding Jan. 6 has unfolded, among the many key questions is the role congressional Republicans might have played in assisting Donald Trump’s scheme. After all, in late December 2020, the outgoing president told Justice Department officials, “Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen.”
Which Republican lawmakers might those be?
A few months ago, in a court filing from the Jan. 6 committee, then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows communicated frequently with a variety of far-right House Republicans, including Pennsylvania’s Scott Perry, Ohio’s Jim Jordan, Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Colorado’s Lauren Boebert, who explored ways to derail certification of the election results.
Ten Republican members of Congress attended a Dec. 21 White House meeting focused on efforts to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence to help overturn the 2020 election, according to the Jan. 6 committee... The revelation underscores how deep the involvement of some lawmakers were in former President Trump’s schemes to overturn the election even after the electoral college met to affirm President Biden’s victory.
As part of yesterday’s hearing, Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy referenced obtained White House visitor logs and listed all 10 GOP members by name:
- Rep. Brian Babin of Texas
- Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona
- Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida
- Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas
- Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona
- Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland
- Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia
- Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio
- Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania
- Then-Rep-elect. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia
Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama apparently helped set up the meeting, though he was not physically present for the discussion.
Part of what's notable about the list was the number of GOP lawmakers who reportedly sought pardons from Trump before he left office. According to testimony and related revelations from the congressional investigation, more than half of the members who participated in the White House meeting — Biggs, Brooks, Gaetz, Gosar, Gohmert, Greene, and Perry — all hoped to receive presidential pardons ahead of Inauguration Day 2021.
But it was Jordan’s name that stood out for me.
One year ago next week, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced five Republicans he wanted to serve on the Jan. 6 select committee. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ended up vetoing two of the five, at which point GOP leaders abandoned the process altogether. (That was unwise.)
One of the rejected members was Jordan — who’d refused to certify the election results, signed onto a brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to help overturn the presidential race, and who declared that he’d never be convinced to abandon his election conspiracy theories.
Now we know that the controversial Ohio Republican also attended a White House meeting focused on pressuring Pence to overturn the election.
It raises a variety of questions, starting with one for McCarthy: Why in the world did you think Jordan would be a responsible choice for the Jan. 6 committee? While we’re at it, can the House GOP leadership also explain why Jordan is slated to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee if Republicans take back the House?