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Jordan tries and fails to get his ‘weaponization’ panel on track

Facing bipartisan criticisms, Jim Jordan tried to get his "weaponization" committee on track. It didn't go well.


Rep. Jim Jordan realizes that his Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government isn’t off to a good start. The panel’s first big hearing was an embarrassing display, and it was soon followed by revelations that the FBI “whistleblowers” the Ohio Republican has been touting for months aren’t actually whistleblowers, and their recent behind-the-scenes testimony was literally unbelievable.

The far-right chairman is confronting complaints from disappointed conservatives and headlines about his GOP-led crusade being “a dud.” Jordan has tried to defend the endeavor with excuses that don't make a lot of sense.

“Clearly there is room to grow and improve before [more] public hearings,” a Republican insider recently told Rolling Stone.

It was against this backdrop that Jordan did, in fact, arrange the weaponization committee’s second hearing, which set out to shine a light on internal Twitter communications that ostensibly showed heavy-handed government agents trying to suppress conservatives. In fact, as the chairman began yesterday’s proceedings, in the first minute he claimed government officials contacted Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth, to warn the platform about “a hack-and-leak operation” related to Hunter Biden.

To hear Jordan tell it, this was powerful evidence. As a Washington Post analysis noted, it was also evidence that Jordan should’ve recognized as untrue.

Roth testified last month to the House Oversight Committee that it wasn’t the government that suggested such a hack-and-leak operation might involve Hunter Biden; he believed that information actually had come from another company. ... Jordan’s summary is also contradicted by a November deposition from the former FBI agent whom Roth cited as warning of the hack-and-leak operations, Elvis Chan.

The Post’s analysis added that Jordan personally asked Roth about this last month, “and Roth again said he had been referring to someone besides the government.”

And yet, there was Jordan yesterday, desperate to prove the value of his subcommittee, launching the committee hearing by pointing to evidence that quickly collapsed. The Ohioan has an unfortunate habit of discarding facts he finds inconvenient, and this didn’t help his deteriorating reputation.

An Axios report this week noted that Jordan’s critics have highlighted his “tendency to make statements first and hope his investigative work will back them up.” Evidently, that’s not going well.

To be sure, this Roth-related detail was just one part of a larger hearing, but the rest of the proceedings was no better: A report in The Bulwark this morning added, “[O]nce again, Jordan’s investigative weapon was loaded with blanks."

A separate Washington Post report added overnight, “Some leaders in hard-right intellectual circles have critiqued the initial work of the subcommittee ... as lackluster and unfocused, and some Republican lawmakers have privately raised concerns. Critics say the committee has been too slow to staff up, insufficiently aggressive in issuing subpoenas for interviews and testimony, and lacking in substance.”

Such talk is poised to get even louder now. The sooner Jordan and his GOP colleagues realize that this entire endeavor is misguided — they’re chasing evidence of a conspiracy that does not exist — the better off they’ll be.