Jim Jordan on GOP ‘Whistleblowers’ Getting Paid by Ex-Trump Adviser: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) claims he has testimony from “dozens” of whistleblowers who’ve provided him with proof that the FBI is unfairly persecuting conservatives. This doesn’t actually seem to be the case.
The first three of these witnesses whose testimony Jordan received were not really “whistleblowers,” but disaffected former FBI employees receiving financial backing from former President Trump’s ally and advisor Kash Patel. None of them have been given whistleblower protection status by the Department of Justice.
Jordan held a hearing of the Judiciary Committee’s Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government on Thursday that featured two of these witnesses. During the hearing, Rep. Daniel Goldman (D-N.Y.) confronted suspended FBI agent Garret O’Boyle and former agent Steve Friend as to whether they had received payments from Patel. Both admitted they had.
When reporters asked Jordan about the financial ties of his sources, the congressman deflected. “They’ve got a family! How are they supposed to feed their family?” Jordan told reporters before the hearing.
Friend was suspended by the FBI after refusing to participate in cases related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. He was also one of three agents who had their security clearances revoked by the FBI, in his case for having “espoused an alternative narrative about the events at the U.S. Capitol” and downloading documents to “an unauthorized removable flash drive.”
During questioning, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D- Va.) displayed tweets from the witnesses espousing conspiracy theories about the Capitol riot, including that undercover federal agents had been responsible for the attack.
Despite their best efforts, Democrats were largely flying blind when it comes to their questioning of witnesses, as Jordan refused to grant them access to testimony in what Democrats contend is a violation of House rules.
As previously reported by Rolling Stone, the denial of access to Democrats may be a result of witnesses’ own inability to answer questions about the alleged wrongdoings they witnessed, and defend their own statements on social media. In transcript of an interview conducted by the committee in February with former FBI supervisory intelligence analyst George Hill, Hill admitted he had no firsthand knowledge of “deep state” scandals and conspiracies involving the FBI.
“Clearly there is room to grow and improve before [more] public hearings,” on Republican source told Rolling Stone at the time, adding that broadcasting the committees work so far “on live television would make us look like morons.”
Thursdays hearing showed little development. Jordan verbally sparred with multiple Democratic members of the committee who pushed back on Jordan’s claims that he would not be sharing evidence with the minority because his witnesses asked him not to. “I find it incredible that evidence that one side has garnered is not going to be shared with the other side. That’s not how committees work,” said Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), calling the hearing a charade to “normalize the events on Jan. 6.”
Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) also questioned his withholding of testimony. “It is my understanding that the minority in this committee, under the rules, is entitled to the same testimony, information, documents, that the majority is entitled,” she said. “I’m not aware that you’re able to withhold information from the minority.
Jordan claimed that the witnesses’ status as “whistleblowers” precluded Democrats from viewing their testimony.
“These individuals have been determined not to be whistleblowers,” Wasserman-Schultz responded. “They’ve been determined by the agency not to be whistleblowers. Are you deciding that they’re whistleblowers?”
When Goldman asked Jordan to point to an exception in the rules that would allow him to withhold evidence, Jordan deflected. “The whistleblower doesn’t make committee rules sir,” Goldman responded.