If you need proof that the Republican Party is fully in the hands of far-right extremists, look no further than the case of Congressman Jim Jordan.
The Ohio Republican, first elected in 2006, is the new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Jordan has been a right-wing bomb thrower and ruthless partisan street fighter from the start. An early endorser of the Tea Party and a founder of the hardcore austerity crusaders the Freedom Caucus, Jordan was always at the center of the obstructionist tactics during the Obama years. He then ran interference for Donald Trump during his many scandals. From Tea Party to Freedom Caucus to MAGA, for the last 16 years, Jim Jordan has been the quintessential far-right Republican, in whatever permutation that is at a given time.
Jordan was involved in the efforts to oust former GOP Speaker John Boehner as a member of the Freedom Caucus, causing Boehner to dub him a "legislative terrorist" which is a very accurate description of his tactics. And he led unsuccessful efforts to do the same to his successor Paul Ryan. Jordan was part of the plots in both 2011 and 2013 to shut down the government and hold the debt ceiling hostage in order to force spending cuts and repeal Obamacare. But his specialty has always been his vicious questioning of Democrats as a member of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees.
Back in 2015, for instance, he angrily harangued Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards about a formal apology she made on behalf of the organization insisting that it wasn't good enough. And who can forget his grilling of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the famous 11-hour marathon interrogation about the Benghazi attacks in 2015? He accused her of lying, suggesting that she personally tried to cover up the attacks because the Libya mission was supposed to look like a big success. In both of those cases, the women he attacked more than held their own but Jordan was hailed as a hero on the right for doing it.
During the Trump years, he was out front as a full-blown Trump accomplice in everything he tried to do from pushing for the impeachment of the acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein over the Mueller Investigation to leading the congressional defense against Trump's two impeachments. He was so close to Trump that he spoke with him personally for 10 minutes on the morning of January 6th and then refused to honor a subpoena from the J6 Committee seeking to question him about what they said. (His close ally Kevin McCarthy actually had the nerve to try to place him on that committee prompting then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to veto the choice, for obvious reasons.)
As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Jordan will be leading a potential impeachment of the Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas simply because they just have to impeach some people and he seems to be the first in line. Jordan already issued subpoenas to Joe Biden's administration demanding documents for an investigation into the government's alleged treatment of parents as "terrorists" (which is completely nonsense) when it issued directives to look into people who were threatening school officials with violence over mask mandates and imaginary Critical Race Theory curriculum. (Republicans apparently believe such behavior falls under the rubric of "parental rights.")
That is the first salvo in what Jordan has promised will be his mission. He plans to take on the Department of Justice, which the Republicans believe is a hotbed of woke liberal activists out to use the long arm of the law to silence conservatives wherever they are found. To that end, they have formed the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government which Jordan will personally oversee. They've already begun their investigations by interviewing a former FBI agent who was fingered by an unnamed whistleblower to have been at the center of a liberal cabal that's out to get Republicans. According to CNN, Matt Gaetz was involved in the questioning which indicates how credible this investigation is already since he has personally been the subject of a serious DOJ investigation for which he asked former president Trump for a pardon.
This subcommittee will "be authorized to receive information available to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence," giving it access to the most closely held secrets of the U.S. government, which is slightly terrifying. Considering the Republican proclivity for projection, it's almost certain that they will do exactly what they are accusing the Department of Justice of doing.
Despite the crude partisanship and conspiracy-mongering that already defined the judiciary committee under Jordan, he is reportedly attempting to present himself as some sort of fair-minded moderate who is deeply committed to maintaining the committee's credibility. CNN reported on the first meeting of the so-called "weaponization" committee:
Rather than issuing a series of partisan attack lines about the so-called "Deep State," Jordan took a low-key approach – handing out binders of reading materials and cautioning members to be meticulous about who they haul in for interviews, a source familiar with the meeting told CNN. "We're going to try to get all the facts on the table for the American people, because that's always the first step," Jordan told CNN after the Jan. 27 meeting.
Jordan can try to project the image of a serious investigation but it's not going to work.
Consider what has just been revealed about the vaunted "investigation of the investigation" by Special Counsel John Durham. He and former Attorney General Bill Barr also set up the pretense of running a sober inquiry when it's now clear they were on a snipe hunt to prove that poor Donald Trump was the victim of a Deep State conspiracy. Jordan and his henchmen are taking up the same mission — and it's likely to fail in exactly the same way.
Before the election, Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., spoke to Politico about what to expect from Jim Jordan in the new Congress. He said:
"Jim sort of had several roles: You know, point man for spreading right wing poison. You know, cheap underminer of prominent Democrats, character assassin. Those are his skill sets that he would bring to whatever the status of the Republicans is in the new Congress. But legislating, working across the aisle, are not among those skills."
Being a serious, thoughtful leader of a credible bipartisan investigation are not among his skills either. The idea that he is suddenly transformed into a statesman along the lines of Frank Church, who led the investigations into the Intelligence agencies back in the 1970s, is simply ludicrous. But I suppose by today's standards he's probably the best they can hope for. Jim Jordan is now what passes as a respected member of the GOP establishment.