Ohio Republican Rep Jim Jordan was blasted for evading a subpoena to testify before the House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot after his party suggested Attorney General Merrick Garland should be held in contempt of Congress.
Mr Garland replied that he wasn’t going to comment on an ongoing investigation.
Mr Massie – who sits on the House Judiciary Committee which Mr Jordan chairs – went on to claim that the attorney general could be held in contempt of Congress.
“Aren’t you in fact in contempt of Congress when you give us this answer? This is an answer that’s appropriate at a press conference,” he said.
Mr Garland then explained the separation of powers to the Kentucky congressman.
Later, Democratic Rep Eric Swalwell brought Mr Massie’s comments back up at the hearing – pointing out, in fact, that the lawmaker leading the hearing could be held in contempt of Congress.
“My colleague just said you should be held in contempt of Congress,” he said of Mr Jordan.
“And that is quite rich because the guy who is leading the hearing room right now, Mr Jordan, is about 500 days into evading his subpoena.”
“So if we’re going to talk about contempt of Congress, let’s get real. Are you serious that Jim Jordan, a witness to one of the greatest crimes ever committed in America, a crime where more prosecutions have occurred than any crime committed in America, refuses to help his country and we’re going to get lectured? About subpoena compliance and contempt of Congress?”
On 12 May 2022, the House select committee subpoenaed Mr Jordan as part of its investigation into the January 6 riot.
However in its final report, the panel wrote that he failed to comply with the subpoena despite appearing to “have had materially relevant communications with Donald Trump or others in the White House”.
Pointing to the saga, Mr Swalwell asked at the hearing: “Are you kidding me? There’s no credibility on that side.”
Turning to the attorney general, Mr Swalwell said: “You are serious. They are not. You are decent. They are not. You are fair. They are not.”
He then accused Republicans of working for Donald Trump “at the expense of millions of Americans”.
“It’s the difference between one side that believes in governing and one side that believes in ruling,” the California congressman concluded.
To further emphasise his point, Mr Swalwell displayed a timer labeled “Jordan’s Subpoena Evasion” at the hearing.
The timer showed the number of days, hours, minutes, and seconds since the subpoena had been issued; Wednesday marked 496 days.