Over the past decade, Rep. Jim Jordan has shown an eagerness to confront adversaries, and now he’s poised to take on his biggest battles yet.
Mr. Jordan, Ohio Republican, likely will become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee next year if Republicans reclaim the majority. The committee oversees the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It also has jurisdiction over impeachment proceedings.
“I always seem to be on the committees where there’s a fight,” Mr. Jordan said in an interview with The Washington Times. “When I think there is a witness that’s paid for by the taxpayers I represent – someone in the government that’s been lying to us, lying to them, lying to ‘we the people’ – it is my duty to go after that individual, demonstrate where they have misinformed the country, and try to hold them accountable.”
Mr. Jordan is already preparing to take on what he sees as an over-politicized Justice Department and FBI that is weaponized against conservatives and supporters of former President Donald Trump.
He’s had 14 FBI whistleblowers recently come to his staff with allegations including purging conservatives from FBI ranks, loosening investigative criteria for “domestic violent extremism” cases, prioritizing cases related to the Capitol riot ahead of child trafficking and other cases, and suppressing information that could harm President Biden’s image, including the scandals around Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
“Everyone sees the political component of the Justice Department now, and our job is to fully get the full truth and facts out there for the American people if we get the majority — and hopefully that can help this process of holding people accountable,” Mr. Jordan said.
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With subpoena power, Mr. Jordan plans to call in DOJ and FBI officials to answer allegations ranging from the government targeting parents speaking out at local school board meetings to a recent FBI raid on an anti-abortion activist in Pennsylvania over charges that he had assaulted a pro-abortion activist last year.
As Mr. Jordan prepares to chair one of the top congressional committees and become chairman for the first time in his 16 years in Congress, his colleagues are cheering him on.
“We haven’t had a Republican as good as him in a number of years,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican. “We need a strong leader in Judiciary that will hold feet to the fire, and I think Jim will do that.”
While Mr. Jordan has said any impeachment effort should be made by the whole committee and House Republican leadership, he told The Times that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas deserves impeachment for his lax oversight of the Southern border, which the secretary has repeatedly claimed is secure despite the unprecedented high number of illegal border crossings and the influx of dangerous drugs such as fentanyl.
“There’s not a rational person with an ounce of common sense who thinks the border is secure,” Mr. Jordan said. “We don’t really have a border anymore, and we’ve had a record number of millions of illegal migrants coming across, so he certainly deserves [to be impeached.]”
Mr. Jordan, 58, built a career by taking on bureaucrats and elected officials, mostly Democrats.
In 2014, he led the charge in investigating claims that the IRS was targeting conservative nonprofit groups. A year later, he made headlines as a key interrogator of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador to Libia J. Christopher Stevens and three U.S. government agents.
He helped lead the defense in the two impeachments of Mr. Trump and was the first lawmaker to speak in defense of Mr. Trump following the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
On top of that, Mr. Jordan served on the House select committee responding to the global coronavirus pandemic and aggressively sought to block the Biden administration’s agenda.
Mr. Jordan first ran for public office in 1994 at the age of 29, when he was president of a Young Republicans Club and an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University. Running on a campaign to defend families, including advocating for expanded parental rights in schools, he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives.
Mr. Jordan, who with his wife Polly has four children and two grandchildren, spent 12 years in the state legislature. He was a state representative and later a state senator, before joining Congress in 2007. At the time, he was among 13 Republican freshmen in one of the smallest pickup years for the GOP in decades.
His rural district, which stretches from the outskirts of Columbus north to Lake Erie, is solidly red, voting Republican in all but 16 elections since the Civil War.
In his first congressional campaign, Mr. Jordan ran on a promise to return to “true Republican principles,” and defend faith, freedom, and family — three principles he still credits as America’s strength.
His Washington debut came during a tumultuous time for the GOP, with former President George W. Bush having approval ratings in the low 30s and then-Ohio Gov. Bob Taft, also a Republican, dealing with a major ethics scandal.
Nearly two decades later, Mr. Jordan has made a name for himself as one of the most consistently conservative lawmakers in Congress, having received recognition from numerous outside groups on his record in office.
He also has broken with his party when he believes Republicans are straying from conservative causes. He raised his national profile during clashes with House Speaker John A. Boehner, a fellow Ohioan who was eventually ousted from his position in 2015 with the help of the House Freedom Caucus that Mr. Jordan co-founded.
Mr. Jordan backed Mr. Boehner three times for speaker but broke with him in 2010 over raising the debt ceiling. The move led Ohio Republicans involved in redistricting efforts that year to threaten to carve up Mr. Jordan’s district to make him vulnerable.
Mr. Boehner later criticized Mr. Jordan’s governing style, referring to him as a “legislative terrorist.”
While his independence was met with ire from establishment-type Republicans, his efforts were equally lauded by his supporters. The Columbus Dispatch called him the “nation’s no. 1 conservative” in 2012, while The Lima News called him a “true believer in conservatism” in 2015.
Rep. Warren Davidson, an Ohio Republican whose campaign Mr. Jordan helped boost with his endorsement in 2016, praised his authenticity.
“You know where you stand with him,” Mr. Davidson said. “There are people that act one way towards you and then treat you differently. Jim’s the same guy in public and in private. That’s not something that’s common in this line of work.”
Mr. Jordan’s popularity on the right has made him one of the top targets and adversaries of the left, particularly in the post-Trump era and the aftermath of the 2021 Capitol riot.
Mr. Jordan, who arguably remains one of Mr. Trump’s closest allies on Capitol Hill, has been accused by liberal groups of helping incite an “insurrection” on Jan. 6, 2021. The lawmaker was one of 147 Republicans who objected to some states’ electoral votes for Mr. Biden last year.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was also applauded by her Democratic colleagues for rejecting Mr. Jordan, along with Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, from serving on the Jan. 6 select committee, citing their objections to the 2020 election results.
The Democratic-led committee later subpoenaed Mr. Jordan and four other House Republicans who refused to cooperate with the probe. Mr. Jordan and his GOP colleagues say the committee is a partisan sham.
The committee invoked Mr. Jordan’s name in hearings. Rep. Adam Schiff, California Democrat, accused Mr. Jordan of lacking the “courage” to be at odds with Mr. Trump by not cooperating with the panel.
Mr. Jordan has frequently gone viral on social media when clashing with Democratic lawmakers and aggressive questioning of witnesses, which is often met with high praise from his supporters and ridicule from his opponents.
“He’s forceful. He’s very forceful,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, New York Democrat who chairs the House Oversight Committee.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat and Judiciary chairman, called his counterpart “extreme,” though adding that he also thought he was “obviously very bright.”
“He’s good at being obstructive, and ultimately, he can’t be obstructive because we have the votes,” Mr. Nadler said.
That Democrats call Mr. Jordan “extreme” shouldn’t be surprising. Mr. Biden and his Democrats have made fighting “MAGA Republican extremists” their top 2022 campaign slogan.
Mr. Jordan called that sort of rhetoric “dangerous and wrong.”
He said the Democratic Party changed dramatically from just a few years ago when he had a good working relationship with fellow Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a now-retired liberal Democrat who Mr. Jordan said believed in the First Amendment and welcomed a debate.
“Today’s left, as evidenced by the things Joe Biden’s saying, don’t believe in the First Amendment,” Mr. Jordan said. “Their attitude is if you don’t agree with me, you’re not allowed to talk and if you try, I’m going to call you extremist, fascist, racist. We’re going to try and cancel you. We’re going to come after your business. We’re going to weaponize the government to come after you. That is dangerous. And the country sees it.”