More than a week after receiving a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio has responded by telling investigators he will consider complying if they meet a list of his demands, including that the probe share any information it has on him that prompted the subpoena to start.
In a six-page letter to Committee Chair Bennie Thompson littered with accusations that the probe is unconstitutional, the Ohio Republican said he would “adequately” respond if investigators provided, in advance, “all documents, videos, or other material” they anticipate using during his possible deposition.
He has also demanded that the committee give him all other materials it has where he is specifically referenced and any legal analyses the panel has accumulated pertaining to the constitutionality of subpoenaing a fellow member of Congress.
A spokesperson for the committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
The committee first asked Jordan to voluntarily cooperate in December, highlighting questions it had for him about his contact with former President Donald Trump before, during, or after the insurrection at the U.S Capitol.
Historically, Jordan’s public response to these questions has been wildly inconsistent. Last summer Jordan told Fox News he spoke to Trump on Jan. 6. When asked the same question a day later by a reporter from a different outlet, Jordan initially couldn’t recall if or when he spoke to Trump on Jan. 6.
But he ultimately bumbled through the question and said he “thought” he spoke with Trump after the attack.
Then, a month after that interview, Jordan told Politico he spoke to the former president during the attack. And last October, when testifying before the House Rules Committee, Jordan was adamant that he spoke to Trump after the attack but he also said he couldn't remember how many times he spoke to Trump that day, either.
It was only after several minutes of House Rules Committee Chair Jim McGovern pushing Jordan to get specific that he stated he did not talk to Trump during the Capitol assault.
This February, the committee investigating the insurrection obtained White House call records from the National Archives that showed Trump attempting to reach Jordan on the morning of Jan. 6 from the White House residence.
Another entry following it noted the call lasted for 10 minutes.
When this news broke in February and reporters asked Jordan yet again if he remembered speaking to Trump before the insurrection, he responded: “I don’t recall.”
But he did say that he talked to Trump after delivering remarks on the House floor for roughly five minutes on Jan. 6.
Legislators were debating objections to Biden’s electoral vote in Arizona and Jordan’s remarks began just after 1:30 PM. Jordan then spoke again from the House floor hours after the riot had subsided, this time around 10:27 PM.
"I know I talked to him after we left off the floor," Jordan told CNN in February.
Investigators also want to ask Jordan about any communication he was privy to that took place at the Willard Hotel on the eve of the attack or on Jan. 6 itself.
Trump’s legal team established a “war room” at the Willard, an upscale venue just blocks from the White House. Using a block of suites there, the president’s attorneys, advisers, and campaign strategists would meet regularly to hash out a strategy to overturn the 2020 election results.
Public reporting, witness testimony, and court records have indicated it was Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Bernie Kerik, Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, and others who convened there, though it is critical to note that they were far from the only Trump aides, attorneys, or insiders who frequented the room.
All told, it has been estimated that up to 30 people attended meetings at the Willard where the overturn—and “alternate elector”—strategy was discussed in detail.
In his response to the committee’s subpoena, Jordan argues at length that neither the subpoena nor the committee are constitutional. His argument has become a de facto position for Republicans who have faced the probe’s scrutiny.
Though Jordan claims the panel’s request is invalid because the committee does not have proper representation of Republican members appointed by GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, Jordan fails to note that when he had a chance to vote in favor of a wholly bipartisan committee—evenly split between Republicans and Democrats with even subpoena powers—he voted against it.
McCarthy appointed Jordan to serve on the initial bipartisan committee proposed. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi rejected Jordan—and Rep. Jim Banks—and asked McCarthy to advance two new nominees to the pool of five GOP members he was permitted to appoint.
McCarthy refused to do so, negotiations ended, and the hopes of an evenly split committee were dashed.
As for the select committee itself, it was, in fact, also properly formed.
To stand up a special committee in the House, congressional rules dictate that a resolution is drafted and voted on. When lawmakers in the House drafted the resolution to form the special committee in 2021, this is exactly what happened: They wrote a resolution, imbued the committee with the power to have subpoena authority, and dictated the membership terms.
The House voted on it and a majority of lawmakers voted in favor of it.
A federal judge in California this January has dismissed similar claims about the committee’s unconstitutionality from election subversion strategist John Eastman.
“The public interest here is weighty and urgent. Congress seeks to understand the causes of a grave attack on our nation’s democracy and a near-successful attempt to subvert the will of the voters. Congressional action to ‘safeguard [a presidential] election’ is ‘essential to preserve the departments and institutions of the general government from impairment or destruction, whether threatened by force or by corruption,’” U.S. District Judge David Carter wrote earlier this year.
And just a few weeks ago, on May 2, in a different court—this one in Washington, D.C.—a federal judge handily dismissed a lawsuit by the Republican National Committee (RNC) brought against the Jan. 6 probe to stop it from obtaining information about fundraising efforts the RNC premised on Trump’s bogus claim that he won the election.
Among allegations that the probe was engaging in a fishing expedition for sensitive party information, the RNC also argued that the select committee was invalid and its subpoena powers unenforceable.
“The subpoena’s valid legislative purpose is apparent enough to sustain it against this challenge,” U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly wrote.
....... Thursday, May 26, 2022 · 2:05:04 PM EDT · Brandi Buchman In related news: On Thursday, Politico was first to get its hands on a letter from at least 20 former House Republicans urging GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 Committee to comply with the requests. Addressing the letter to McCarthy and Reps. Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks, Jim Jordan and Scott Perry, the former Republican lawmakers stressed that they understood the rarity of a “congressional investigative body” issuing a subpoena to sitting lawmakers.
But, they wrote, “we also recognize that the subject of this inquiry is unprecedented in American history.”
“A full and honest accounting of the attack and its causes is critical to preventing future assaults on the rule of law and American institutions — and ensuring that we all can move forward,” the letter states.
Five Republican gubernatorial candidates will be kept off Michigan's primary ballot for now after the state's Board of State Canvassers deadlocked along party lines on Thursday during consideration of whether they were ineligible due to invalid signatures.
The United States’s decision on whether to send MLRS/HIMARS rocket artillery to Ukraine has been painfully long and torturous, but they’re reportedly on the verge of making it happen. According to CNN’s sources, the problem is fear “Ukraine could use the systems to carry out offensive attacks inside Russia … The MLRS and its lighter-weight version, the HIMARS, can launch as far as 300km, or 186 miles.”
I’ve already written why I hope we don’t send MLRS unless the platform has been significantly upgraded since I was in the army 30 years ago. But the logic above is nonsensical. MLRS and HIMARS rockets (they use the same ammunition, HIMARS just has half the rockets per load than MLRS) have a real range of 32-70 kilometers (20-44 miles) depending on the specific rocket. As always, the longer the range, the fewer in the arsenal, the more expensive they are. (For context, M777 howitzers range from 21 kilometers (13 miles) for a standard round, which costs around $800, to 40 kilometers (25 miles) for a precision-guided Excalibur rounds, which cost about $1 million each).
The 186-mile figure comes from the ATACMS, a massive ultra-long-range ballistic rocket that costs about $5 million a pop. Ukraine wasn’t likely to get those anyway, obviating any concerns that Ukraine might launch them deep into Russian territory. The standard rockets already have a significant range advantage over traditional artillery, which is really what Ukraine wants. All of Russia’s recent advances have been thanks to their overwhelming artillery advantage. Ukraine just wants to even that playing field.
Ukraine is convinced MLRS/HIMARS will change its fortunes in Donbas, and allow it to more effectively go on the offensive to retake lost territory. Assuming Ukraine’s logistical chain can handle these thirsty systems (I’ve written about my own experience managing logistics for an MLRS platoon here), there’s no doubt they would give Ukraine a major boost in combat capabilities. But perhaps not in the Severodonetsk salient, which Ukraine is defending at all costs.
I circled several key cities in the Battle of the Donbas. Lyman fell to Russia today as expected. No reason for Ukraine to seriously contest the city when it had more defensible positions right across the river—with high bluffs overlooking the river as well.
The main supply highway between Bakhmut and Lysychansk remains open, though under constant Russian shelling. As I write this, Zolote, north of Popasna, was still held by Ukrainian forces. As you can see on the map above, several major supply routes run through Bakhmut. Losing the city would essentially cut off that entire Lysychansk-Severodonetsk pocket, and Russia inched closer today, taking several small settlements on their push out of Popasna. However, Bakhmut had a pre-war population of 75,000—enough of an urban environment that Russia will have trouble entering. Furthermore, those Russian supply lines are starting to get long, and we know what happens when they are stretched out. This happens:
It had been a while since we’d seen the Javelin/NLAW anti-tank hunters in action. They are at their best with guerrilla tactics harassing Russian lines of communication, which is exactly what’s happening with Russian forces stretching out from Popasna. Russia’s artillery advantage is negated by these small, mobile kill teams.
As Mark wrote earlier today, the Izyum salient is dead in the water despite having had the largest concentration of Russian forces in the country. I doubt that’s any longer the case, as we’ve known some forces were repositioned to the Kharkiv front to the north, as Ukraine threatens Russia’s supply lines. (There were rumors of new Ukrainian gains in the region, but I’ll hold off on any more details until we get better confirmation). I’d be shocked if Russia hasn’t further moved forces from Izyum to the Popasna advance, as it’s been the first time in weeks Russia has actually moved forward.
I circled Sloviansk and Kramatorsk in the map above as a reminder, that even if Russia takes Severodonetsk (probable) and Lysychansk (less probable), any such advance will crash at the gates of those two heavily fortified cities, with clear supply lines and artillery support to their west. Honestly, I’ve rarely questioned Ukrainian strategy, but their defense of Severodonetsk, on the wrong side of the Donets River, is truly perplexing.
Not only is Lysychansk much easier to defend behind the natural barrier of the river, but it is closer to Ukrainian artillery support. Even MLRS/HIMARS would be of little help in the defense of Severodonetsk, it’s just too far away from safe firing positions .
There is certainly propaganda value, as Russia wants to declare all of Luhansk Oblast conquered. Ukraine is down to the last 5-10% of the oblast. But so what if Russia takes it? There is a broader war to be fought. Russia can crow all it wants about taking a tiny slice of Donbas, but that won’t get it any closer to winning the war.
My guess is that Severodonetsk is the next Mariupol—a city that sucks up a disproportionate amount of Russia’s combat power in order to slow the invader’s advance. Ukraine needs two months to assemble all its reservists and western weaponry, every day that Severodonetsk holds out is one day closer to that magic future date.
The U.S. is sending its heavy vehicles by ship. There’s 200 of these on the way, plus hundreds of more Humvees, so this is likely more efficient than trying to fly them in. Also, it seems that things like artillery cannons and ammunition are higher priority for limited air transport space. I looked up shipping times from Georgia to France (no idea what port they’re going to), and it’s 24 days. Then they have to be unloaded and rail-shipped to Poland, and then transported across the border however that’s done (no one is talking about it for obvious reasons). So optimistically, all this armor won’t be in Ukraine’s hands for at least another 6-8 weeks.
Ukraine needs to buy time, and it seems that keeping Severodonetsk in Ukrainian hands for the next few weeks is part of that strategy.
Furthermore, there is suspicion in Ukraine that Russia is convincing its western allies to trade Ukrainian territory for a cease-fire. France and Germany certainly seem squishy, and Ukrainian media wasn’t happy when the United States and Russia re-established their military deescalation hotline. We might think, “good! Less chance of a misunderstanding escalating to nuclear war!” But Ukraine is convinced that Russia is in a full-court diplomatic press to freeze the conflict at its current status quo, averting a prolonged war (and its effects on the global economy and food supply), all for the low-low price of just the Donbas and Kherson.
Whatever Ukraine’s motivations, all indications are that the situation in the Donbas is desperate.
Still, rather than retreat, reports are that Ukraine is actually sending more troops to Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, reinforcing the cities against the Russian onslaught. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to provide artillery cover in such a deep Ukrainian salient. Those reinforcements will likely be on their own. Hopefully, their defensive emplacements offer solid protection against artillery, because it’s going to rain fire. And no MLRS/HIMARS shipment, whether in two weeks or two months, can change that equation.
Finally, let’s remember the full scale and context of the current battle zone:
Everything that is happening now is the culmination of incredibly shrinking Russian ambitions. Ukraine holds around 5,000 square miles of Donbas territory. That Lysychansk/Severodonetsk pocket would get Russia 5-10% of that territory. They've got a long way to go.
Abducted Chechens “are threatened with the fabrication of criminal cases,” if they don’t comply, one rights organization warned.
Citizens of the Russian republic of Chechnya are reporting that they are being kidnapped against their will and forced to fight as “volunteers” in Russia’s war in Ukraine, according to several human rights organizations.
Hundreds of Chechen people are being rounded up for “mass abductions,” 1Adat, a human rights group that advocates against corruption in Chechnya and Russian propaganda, reported.
“The abducted are required to sign a paper stating that they are volunteers to be sent to Ukraine, otherwise they are threatened with fabrication of criminal cases,” 1Adat said in a statement. “Everyone who goes to Ukraine in this way will be used on the front line, like cannon fodder.”
Vayfond, another human rights organization, said earlier this month that it was receiving “dozens” of messages from people in Chechnya that they were being forced to prepare to go to Ukraine, despite the fact that they weren’t members of law enforcement or military as well.
The Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, who has been one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most aggressive supporters during the war in Ukraine, has also suggested that citizens who volunteers to fight in Ukraine could be paid 300,000 rubles.......
“Would people be moved to action if they saw what a kid looked like after, you know, 12 or 15 bullets went through their body?”
Chris Murphy has seen the photographs of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The Connecticut senator is one of the few people who have. The public has been spared the images of the “unthinkable, grisly, horrific scenes,” he says, so shocking that the first responders who first entered the classrooms required as much counseling as the parents who lost their children.
“I sometimes wonder what would happen if the photos from inside these scenes became public,” Murphy mused on Wednesday morning. “Would people be moved to action if they saw what a kid looked like after, you know, 12 or 15 bullets went through their body?”
Murphy doesn’t pretend to know what unfolded at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where at least 19 children and two teachers were murdered on Tuesday afternoon. Nor will he venture to imagine the scene at the nearby civic center, where loved ones were either reunited with their children or shattered by the news they never would be.
But at the Newtown firehouse on December 14, 2012, he’d huddled with the families who weren’t spared the horror of learning their children had been among the 20 killed. The Uvalde gunman used an AR-15 type rifle, just as the Sandy Hook shooter had. So Murphy isn’t sparing anyone what’s emerging from Uvalde, never shying away from the heartbreaking details as he elevates reporting from the scene. “Imagine being 9 years old, and watching your friend get shot in the nose and collapse dead in front of you,” he tweeted, sharing a New York Times dispatch on Tuesday night.......