Fact Check: Jim Jordan made false claims about Trump, Hunter Biden, hearing to begin


House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan made false claims in his opening remarks at Wednesday’s hearing, in which Jordan and other Republicans grilled attorneys about the Justice Department’s handling of the investigation into former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden. put pressure on General Merrick Garland.

Here’s a fact check of two of Jordan’s inaccurate comments, as well as one from Representative Thomas Massie and another from Representative Chip Roy.

Criticizing the FBI search of Trump’s home in Florida in August 2022, Jordan, a Republican from Ohio, falsely claimed in his opening statement at Wednesday’s hearing that Trump did everything the Justice Department told him to do before the search. Said for.

Among other acts of compliance, Jordan said, Trump immediately returned 38 documents discovered before the search, then complied with a Justice Department request to further secure the storage room where official documents were being stored. Were.

“Whatever they asked him to do, he did it. And then what does the Justice Department do? Last year on August 8, they raided President Trump’s home,” Jordan said.

Facts First: Jordan’s claim that Trump did “everything” the Justice Department asked him to do is false. When the Justice Department received a grand jury subpoena in May 2022 demanding that Trump turn over all documents with classification markings, Trump did not do so. Instead, Trump’s indictment alleges, he turned over only 38 documents with classification markings in June 2022, far fewer than he had; An FBI search of Mar-a-Lago in August 2022 turned up 102 additional documents with classification markings. Additionally, the indictment alleges that, upon subpoenaing 38 documents, Trump knowingly had one of his attorneys sign a document that falsely certified that all documents requested by subpoena had been produced.

The indictment brought by special counsel Jack Smith also alleges that Trump committed numerous other acts of obstruction to try to avoid complying with the May 2022 subpoena.

The indictment says Trump instructed an aide, Walt Nauta, to move the boxes before the documents could be searched in early June 2022 in response to a subpoena by Trump lawyer Ivan Corcoran, “so that many of the boxes would not be discovered.” and many documents may not be responsive.” The May 11 subpoena was not received – and in fact was not received – by (Corcoran).” The indictment also alleges that Trump suggested that Corcoran falsely represented to the government that Trump had “by the May 11 subpoena The documents sought were not there” and Corcoran “concealed or destroyed the documents sought by the May 11 subpoena.”

Trump has declared himself innocent of all charges.

Jordan claimed that Hunter Biden himself admitted that he was unfit for his former role on the board of directors of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.

“He was not eligible to join the board of Burisma. Not my words, his words,” Jordan said. “He said he came on board because of his last name.”

Facts First: It is not true that Hunter Biden himself said he was not eligible to sit on the Burisma board. Actually, Hunter Biden Said Said in a 2019 interview with ABC News that “I was fully qualified to join the board” and defended his qualifications in detail. He acknowledged, as did Jordan, that he “probably wouldn’t” have been asked to join the board if it weren’t for Biden — but he nevertheless categorically rejected claims that he was not qualified, Called them “misinformation”.

When an ABC interviewer asked what his qualifications were for the role, he said: “Well, I was vice chairman on the board of Amtrak for five years. I was chairman of the board of the United Nations World Food Programme. I was Boise Schiller Flexner. I was a lawyer at Harvard Law Firm, one of the most prestigious law firms in the world. The bottom line is that I knew I was perfectly qualified to lead the Corporate Governance and Transparency Committee on the board. And that’s all on I focused on. Basically, converting an Eastern European independent natural gas company to Western standards of corporate governance.”

When the ABC interviewer said, “However, you didn’t have any extensive knowledge about natural gas or Ukraine,” Biden responded, “No, but I think I had as much knowledge as anybody else on the board – If not, more.”

Asked whether he would have been asked to join the board if his last name were not Biden, Biden said, “I don’t know. I don’t know. Probably not.” He added that there are “a lot of things” in his life that would not have happened if his surname had been different.

A side note: Biden served as board chair for the World Food Program USA, a nonprofit that supports the United Nations World Food Program, not the United Nations program, as he claimed in the interview. did.

Massey, a Kentucky Republican, brought up Ray Epps, a participant in the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot, who has been the subject of baseless conspiracy theories alleging he worked with the FBI to incite Trump supporters. The one was a “false flag” provocateur. ,

Epps was charged Monday with misdemeanor engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds and pleaded guilty Wednesday. Massey dismissed the charges against Epps as light, telling Garland: “Meanwhile you’re sending grandma to jail. You are keeping people away for 20 years just for filming. Some people were not even there.”

Facts First: It is not true that anyone who has been sentenced in connection with the January 6 riot has received 20 years in prison “just for filming.” And the rioter Macy’s office says since the rioter he was talking about hasn’t been sentenced yet, the chances of him getting a sentence anywhere near that long are slim.

The only sentence so far related to January 6 that is 20 years or more was given to Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, who was convicted of multiple felonies, including seditious conspiracy. Although Tarrio was not at the Capitol on January 6 – he was ordered to leave Washington following his arrest two days earlier – Trump-appointed Judge Timothy Kelly said, “Mr. Tarrio was the ultimate leader of that conspiracy” and “that day “He had a tremendous impact on events.” January 6 . Seditious conspiracy along with other felonies.

Massey spokesman John Kennedy told CNN after the hearing on Wednesday that Massey was referring to the case of Ryan Zinke, a Texas riot participant who was convicted by a jury last week of a felony (obstructing an official proceeding and aiding and abetting). Was convicted for. Two misdemeanors (entering and remaining in restricted building or grounds, and disorderly and disruptive conduct in restricted building or grounds).

But contrary to Macy’s suggestion, Zink was not simply an observer filming the riot; According to court documents, he recorded himself on the Capitol grounds making enthusiastic comments, such as, “We knocked down the door!” We’re storming the Capitol! You can’t stop us!” And “We stormed the Capitol. There are thousands of us here. They can’t stop us all!” And while Kennedy did provide a link to a 2021 local news article that claimed Zink was facing up to 21 years in prison, it’s a virtual certainty that he won’t receive a sentence close to that term ; The rioters in almost identical cases have received far less punishment.

Garland’s 2021 memo

Roy, a Texas Republican, revived a repeatedly rejected Republican claim about the contents of the memo Garland issued in October 2021, which the memo described as “harassment, intimidation and harassment against school administrators, board members, teachers, and “A disturbing increase in threats of violence.” And the staff.”

Other Republicans have falsely claimed that Garland’s memo referred to parents as “domestic terrorists” for speaking out or even just attending school board meetings. At Wednesday’s hearing, New Jersey Republican Representative Jeff Van Drew told Garland, “I hold you accountable for labeling parents standing up for a proper education for their children as domestic terrorists.

Later in the hearing, Roy went a step further – he claimed that Garland’s memo had labeled a particular Virginia parent a domestic terrorist.

The parent, Scott Smith, was convicted of disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice for his conduct at the 2021 school board meeting held a month after his daughter was sexually assaulted at the school. Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin pardoned Smith earlier this month.

Roy asked Garland, “Have you apologized for declassifying the memo that implicated Scott Smith as a domestic terrorist?”

Garland responded, “The memo said nothing about him, nothing about the parents being terrorists, nothing about running for school board.”

But Roy added, “So the answer is that it has not been rescinded and you have not apologized for it…the memo has designated an American citizen as a domestic terrorist.”

Facts First: Garland was right and Roy was wrong. The memo did not mention Smith nor label him or any other parent a domestic terrorist. In fact, the memo did not mention “terrorists” or “terrorism” at all.

Multiple fact checks by CNN and other outlets revealed that various Republicans distorted the contents of Garland’s memo. And in 2022, a Trump-appointed judge dismissed a lawsuit from parents who accused Garland of suppressing their free speech — writing in his decision that Garland’s memo “would not have justified anyone’s decision to label him a domestic terrorist.” Doesn’t give.”

Here’s what really happened.

In September 2021, the National School Boards Association sent a letter to President Joe Biden arguing that “acts of hatred, violence, and threats against public school officials” amount to “domestic terrorism and a form of hate crimes.” Can be classified. Following controversy over the letter, the association’s board of directors apologized in October 2021, saying there was “no justification” for some of the letter’s language.

A week after the association sent the letter, Garland issued a memo encouraging the FBI, federal prosecutors, and federal, state and local leaders to convene meetings to discuss strategies for dealing with threats against education officials. Went; The memo said the Justice Department would prosecute these threats “when appropriate.” However, the memo never used the Association’s “domestic terrorism” rhetoric and never endorsed the Association’s suggestion that the Patriot Act could be used against criminals.

Garland testified to the House Judiciary Committee in October 2021 that complaints about education are “fully protected by the First Amendment” unless they involve threats of violence. He also said that he “cannot imagine a situation where they would be labeled domestic terrorists.”

Garland said in his October 2021 testimony, “I want to be clear that the Department of Justice supports the First Amendment right of parents to complain as vocally as they wish about their children’s education, the curriculum taught in schools, and And defends.” “The memo is not about this at all, nor does it use the words ‘domestic terrorism’ or ‘Patriot Act’.”

This story has been updated with comment from the office of Representative Thomas Massie.

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