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The House panel probing the Jan. 6 attack wants to talk to Trump ally Rep. Jordan

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol wants to talk to Representative Jim Jordan. The Ohio Republican is a strong ally of former President Trump. Jordan is the second sitting member of Congress the panel has asked to question. Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, also a Republican, declined the panel's request earlier this week. NPR's Deirdre Walsh covers Congress. We spoke with her earlier about the investigation. Why does the committee want to speak with Jim Jordan?

DEIRDRE WALSH, BYLINE: Well, Jordan has already publicly said that he spoke to President Trump on January 6. And in the letter that the Commerce Committee chairman - the Select Committee chairman, Bennie Thompson, sent to Jordan yesterday, he mentions that the two could have had multiple conversations. If that's the case, the committee wants to talk to him about each one in detail. They also want to talk to him about any meetings he was in in the days leading up to the insurrection with White House officials or outside activists who were planning efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. They also specifically asked if he was in any discussions about presidential pardons. Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney, she's a member of the Select Committee. She's called him, quote, "a material witness."

BLOCK: OK, so that's the request. What has Jim Jordan said about it?

WALSH: Well, he said last night on Fox News that he just got the letter, and he's reviewing it. But he also said he has concerns about the way the committee operates. But back in October, when he was asked about his own actions on January 6, he did indicate a possible willingness to cooperate. And Bennie Thompson actually noted that in his letter to Jordan. Here's an exchange that Jordan had in October with Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JIM MCGOVERN: I guess are you willing to tell the Select Committee what you know about events leading up to, during...

JIM JORDAN: I've been clear all along. I've got nothing to hide. I've been straightforward all along.

WALSH: You know, it's worth noting that Jordan was one of the five House Republicans that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy picked to serve on the Select Committee. But when Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected his participation, McCarthy decided not to appoint any Republicans. Pelosi did end up appointing two Republicans, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.

BLOCK: Now, if Jim Jordan does not cooperate, what options does the committee have? Could they subpoena him?

WALSH: They could. It would be unusual for a committee to subpoena a fellow lawmaker. But the spokesman for the committee has been saying all along that if they don't get cooperation, they will consider using, quote, "other tools." You know, Bennie Thompson himself has not ruled out sending subpoenas to fellow members of Congress, and he's been telling reporters for months that they're going to do what they need to do to complete their investigation about the events that led up to the attack on the Capitol. You know, if they do subpoena Jordan or Perry, it could end up in court.

BLOCK: Deirdre, this investigation has been going on for months. We heard the first witnesses in a public hearing in July. What do we know so far about what the committee has uncovered?

WALSH: You know, they have a lot of information, a lot of details about the discussions with senior members of the White House and people talking to the president. Liz Cheney has already said they talked to 300 witnesses. You know, there are some who are blocking or trying to block subpoenas, but there are a lot of others who are sitting for hours of closed-door depositions and investigations. They have thousands of pages of emails and text messages about, you know, messages with current lawmakers. They could decide to reach out to other members, including McCarthy himself, who, like Jordan, did talk to Trump on January 6.

BLOCK: OK. NPR's Deirdre Walsh. Deirdre, thanks so much.

WALSH: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.