Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) faced harsh criticism from a former colleague after he refused to comment on controversial remarks recently made by former President Donald Trump.
Trump warned that there could be "death & destruction" if he is charged in a New York investigation into a hush money payment that his personal lawyer paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election.
NBC News correspondent Sahil Kapur asked Jordan about the remarks on Friday, but the influential congressman refused to comment.
"Asked Rep. Jim Jordan what he makes of Trump’s warning about 'potential death & destruction' if indicted," Kapur tweeted. "Jordan said he hasn’t seen Trump’s post. When I showed this to him on my phone, he said he can’t read well without his glasses. He added he’s reviewing DA Bragg’s letter."
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That didn't sit well with one former GOP congressman.
"Utter cowardice. Not at all the @Jim_Jordan I knew & served with in Congress 10 yrs ago. Or…maybe it is," tweeted former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL).
Walsh served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013. During his time in office, he was known for his staunch conservative views and his involvement with the Tea Party movement. Walsh was a vocal opponent of government spending, the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), and efforts to raise the debt ceiling.
In recent years, Walsh has become a vocal opponent of Trump.
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Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is investigating the $130,000 payment to Daniels.
The payment was allegedly made to stop her from going public about a liaison she says she had with Trump years earlier.
Trump's ex-lawyer-turned-adversary Michael Cohen says he made the payment on his then boss's behalf and was later reimbursed.
If not properly accounted for, the payment could result in a misdemeanor charge for falsifying business records, experts say.
That might be raised to a felony if the false accounting was intended to cover up a second crime, such as a campaign finance violation, which is punishable by up to four years behind bars.
Legal analysts say that argument is untested and would be difficult to prove in court. Any jail time is far from certain.
Trump denies the affair. He repeated on Truth Social Thursday that Bragg has "no case" and accused him again of carrying out a political agenda. "Our country is being destroyed, as they tell us to be peaceful!" he wrote.
Trump is facing several criminal investigations at the state and federal level over possible wrongdoing that threaten his new run at the White House, many more serious than the Manhattan case.
They include his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state of Georgia, his handling of classified documents, and his possible involvement in the January 6 rioting.
Some observers believe an indictment bodes ill for Trump's 2024 chances, while others say it could boost his support.
With additional reporting by AFP