Why the GOP is overlooking Jim Jordan’s incomplete investigative report card

Why the GOP is overlooking Jim Jordan’s incomplete investigative report card

As Jim Jordan goes for the speakership, he’s made a point to tout his track record as the lead on nearly every politically charged investigation during the Trump and Biden eras on Capitol Hill.

Since the Ohio Republican ascended to the Judiciary Committee chairmanship this year, his probes have issued 45 subpoenas, conducted or scheduled more than 80 transcribed interviews and depositions, held 48 hearings and compiled 260,107 pages of documents, according to data his team shared with POLITICO.

The numbers hint at Jordan’s main selling point: his tough stands against alleged Democratic corruption, particularly claims of politicization inside the federal government. The Ohioan has built a powerful brand on the right as a partisan warrior, one that’s helped make him the odds-on speaker favorite.

But when it comes to both the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden and claims of politicizing the government, Jordan’s House Republicans have yet to find a smoking gun — or anything close.

Not that it matters to many admiring fellow Republicans. If you doubt the power of Jordan’s reputation in his party, just listen to how Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) described the Jordan-Kevin McCarthy dynamic to us, almost exactly one year ago. Gaetz, who unleashed the former speaker’s ouster less than two weeks ago, compared McCarthy outranking Jordan to “watching Tom Brady sit on the bench, while Drew Bledsoe mismanages the offense.”

Translation, for non-football fans: It doesn’t matter to conservatives that Jordan’s pugilistic approach has yet to land any major blows in the House GOP’s nascent Biden impeachment inquiry.

What they care about is his relentless style, which has won Jordan more favor among fellow Republicans than the other top Biden investigator, Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.). Pundits and members on the right have occasionally grumbled that Comer and Jordan aren’t going fast enough with their investigations, but Comer’s more front-and-center role in the probes has exposed him to more criticism.

Jordan also has a long reputation in conservative media as an anti-Hunter Biden messenger. He helped engineer the party’s case against the first son during his stint leading the Republican response to Donald Trump’s first impeachment in 2019, when he helped drive a narrative that is now the focus of Comer’s investigation.

In the majority, Jordan has managed to achieve a profile that’s the best of both worlds. He tackles red-meat issues that the conservative base loves, often getting traction in the right-wing media (if rarely outside of that). But by ceding much of the impeachment inquiry to Comer, Jordan avoids having to demonstrate a direct link between Hunter and Joe Biden’s actions.

Instead, Jordan has conducted a sweeping, multi-pronged inquiry into so-called “weaponization” — a GOP catch-all for government politicization. That umbrella has included the FBI’s investigations into former President Donald Trump, a now infamous letter from former intelligence officials warning that a 2020 Hunter Biden story could be Russian misinformation and a deep dive into prosecutors’ current Hunter work.

Let’s be clear, though: Even grading on a curve, Jordan gets an incomplete on his Biden investigative report card so far (and if he becomes speaker, it might remain that way).

He’s raised the bar high for four years now by pushing his party to connect Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings to Joe Biden’s actions as vice president and, later, president. He was even added as a short-term intelligence committee member back in 2019 to coordinate the pushback to the first impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump.

In a letter to his colleagues earlier this year, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO, Jordan wrote that he had worked to “expose misconduct in the Executive Branch, fight the politicization of government and hold the Biden administration accountable.”

But, it bears repeating, House Republicans remain short of evidence that directly ties Joe Biden to any improper behavior his son may have engaged in while working for Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma during the Obama administration.

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