Ohio Republican Jim Jordan is the second sitting congressman to reject a request for cooperation from the House Select Committee investigating the attack on Capitol Hill.
In a letter Sunday night to committee chair Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, Trump’s ally accused the panel of “a scandalous abuse” of his authority.
It also called for “an inappropriate and unprecedented demand to examine the basis for a colleague’s decision on a particular matter pending before the House of Representatives.”
“This request is far from the limits of any legitimate investigation,” he said, “violates basic constitutional principles and would serve to further erode legislative norms.”
Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, who was also heavily involved in Donald Trump’s attempt to reverse his electoral defeat, has also refused to cooperate.
Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon has pleaded not guilty to a count of criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate. his judgment is place for July.
Mark Meadows, Trump’s last chief of staff in the White House and a former congressman, has also refused. The committee has recommended a criminal charge.
Citing committee sources, The Guardian has reported that the panel is considering whether Trump himself could be charged with criminal conspiracy.
But Thompson has suggested that the panel may have few options in obtaining testimony from sitting members of Congress. An alternative path may be a series of primetime public hearings, seeking as wide an audience as possible.
In columns for The Guardian, former Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal has exposed Jordan’s extensive contacts with Trump before and on January 6, through legalistic efforts to yield results and the Capitol riots itself.
Blumenthal has also suggested that there is a precedent for compelling Jordan to testify, in the investigation of John Brown’s anti-slavery bust at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, in 1859.
That event preceded the civil war, which raged between 1861 and 1865. Many scholars and observers have warned that Trump’s assault on democracy could fuel that conflict.
Five people died and more than 140 policemen were injured around the attack on Congress, which did not stop the certification of the results of the electoral college. Trump was indicted for inciting an insurrection and acquitted.
Jordan, a former wrestling coach and member of the far-right Freedom Caucus, is one of Trump’s main allies in Congress.
Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, nominated Jordan as a member of the Jan.6 committee. Democrats blocked it. Only two Republicans sit on the panel: Trump critics Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.
On Sunday, Kinzinger asked on NBC: “What did the president know about January 6 prior to January 6?
“It’s the difference between, was the president absolutely incompetent or a coward on January 6 when he did nothing or knew what was coming? That is a difference between incompetence with your oath and possibly criminal.
Sunday night, a spokesperson saying the committee would respond to Jordan soon and “consider appropriate next steps.”
“Mr. Jordan has admitted that he spoke directly to President Trump on January 6 and is therefore a material witness,” the spokesman said. “Mr. Jordan’s letter to the committee does not address these facts.”