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Rep. Jim Jordan: Withholding information puts Justice Department under a cloud

Conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus called on Tuesday for the appointment of a second special counsel to look into the FBI and Department of Justice. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, a member of the Freedom Caucus, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss what he believes necessitates an inquiry, GOP conflict over the farm bill and immigration and whether he will run for speaker of the House.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Conservative members of the Freedom Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives called today for the appointment of a second special counsel to look into possible misconduct inside the FBI and the Department of Justice.

    I spoke a short time ago with one member of the Freedom Caucus, Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio.

    You said today that you are — quote — "sick and tired" of the runaround you say you have been getting from the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein. That you want a second special counsel appointed.

    Why?

  • Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio:

    Because Attorney General Jeff Sessions has stated that only under extraordinary circumstances do you have special counsels.

    Well, how about the fact that five of the top people at the FBI have been fired or demoted and reassigned? James Comey has been fired, former director of the FBI. Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has been fired. There is actually a criminal referral because he lied three times under oath, according to the inspector general.

    Deputy Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok has been demoted and reassigned. FBI counsel Jim Baker has been demoted and reassigned. FBI counsel Lisa Page has been demoted and reassigned.

    Five of the top people demoted, reassigned, and in some cases fired from the FBI, if that isn't unusual, if that isn't extraordinary, someone define to me what is. And these five people, while they were working in the Obama administration, ran the Clinton investigation and then launched the Russia investigation into President Trump and his campaign.

    They're the ones who did the dossier. They're the ones who maybe were involved in what we have seen, this possible informant issue. So, for all those reasons, it warrants a second special counsel.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Well, as you know, Congressman, the deputy attorney general is a Republican appointed by this administration. The head of the FBI, Christopher Wray, a Republican, appointed by this administration.

    Why not have confidence in them, let them finish?

    (CROSSTALK)

  • Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio:

    Judy, I don't care if they're Republican, Democrat, independent, Martian. I don't care.

    What I care about is getting the information. We have asked repeatedly for information. Repeatedly, they have denied. And we have actually caught the Department of Justice in withholding information.

    One of the text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page talked about the relationship Peter Strzok had with the FISA court Judge Contreras, who also happened to be the judge who heard Michael Flynn's case. They redacted that. They didn't want us knowing that somehow Peter Strzok and Judge Contreras were friends.

    Why? What does have to do with — so, when you catch the FBI — or — excuse me — the Department of Justice withholding information from Congress, for no good reason, that sort of puts everything else under this cloud and a little suspect, as we look at it.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Do you think they have lied to you or misled you?

  • Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio:

    I know they have redacted that portion of the text message from Strzok and Page, between Strzok and Page, that talked about the relationship Mr. Strzok had with Judge Contreras. They redacted that. Why?

    Is that classified? No. Is it part of an ongoing investigation? No. They just didn't want us to know, and for some reason it was redacted. So, that's been the history.

    They have told us we're entitled on the Judiciary and Oversight Committee to approximately 46,000 documents. Over the last 6.5 months, we have received approximately 15,000.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Right.

  • Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio:

    At the pace we're going, we're going to be well into President Trump's second term before we ever get the information that they have told us we're entitled to as members of the separate and equal branch of government.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    But if this doesn't happen quickly, just quickly, Congressman Jordan, are you prepared to honor the work that the special counsel is doing?

  • Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio:

    No one is talking about the special counsel. We're just talking about getting information.

    But what we do know, now, think about this. Those five people who have been fired, demoted, or reassigned, those same five people took an opposition research document paid for by the Clinton campaign, took it to the FISA court to get a warrant to spy on a fellow American citizen.

    They didn't tell the court who wrote the document, that that guy who wrote the document had been fired by the FBI, Christopher Steele, and they didn't tell the court who paid for it.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Well, they have…

  • Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio:

    When I go to court, Judy, when we go to court, we have to tell the whole truth, nothing but the truth, all the truth.

    But the FBI went to court and didn't do the same thing. That's a problem.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    I want to move on to something else.

    Inside the Republican Caucus, in the House of Representatives, there are clearly serious divisions. Republicans didn't support the GOP leadership, what the GOP leadership wanted last week with regard to the farm bill.

    Is Speaker Ryan in trouble? Should — do you believe that he's going to see out his term as speaker until the end of…

    (CROSSTALK)

  • Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio:

    There's plenty — I do think that — Paul has been clear about that. There's plenty of time to get a farm bill done.

    We do want to get a farm bill across the finish line, one that actually has work requirements for folks in the SNAP program, the food stamp program. But, right now, the focus is on getting immigration policy right, because the American people, on November 8, 2016, were very clear about making sure we built the border security wall, we did the right thing on immigration.

    That's what we conservatives are focused on getting done, because that was a paramount issue in the last campaign.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    But I'm also asking you about the leadership.

    Since this was a — basically a repudiation of what the leadership was asking for, are we now looking at a situation where Speaker Ryan's job is in jeopardy?

  • Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio:

    It wasn't a repudiation. It was saying we should have a focus on doing the right immigration policy.

    After all, some of our colleagues are…

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Well, that's not what the leadership…

  • Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio:

    … putting — are bringing forth a discharge petition, which would bring to the floor, and the end result would be a bill that is not consistent with the mandate of the 2016 election.

    We're focused, we conservatives who oppose that farm bill, we are focused on getting the right immigration policy done, one that is consistent with what we told the American people we were going to do.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And, finally, Congressman, more than 100 members of the Tea Party movement have signed a letter urging you to run for speaker of the House. Are you going to do that?

  • Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio:

    I have been very clear, if and when there is a race for speaker, I plan to be a part of that conversation.

    Right now, the focus has got to be on what we do as Republicans to make sure we're in the majority. If we — more important than who the speaker is next year is what Republicans do this year.

    We better get focused on the things the American people elected us to do, accomplishing those things. And first and foremost in that is the right kind of immigration legislation that deals with the border security wall, deals with chain migration, deals with the visa lottery.

    That's what we have got to focus on.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Should there be a new election for speaker before the election?

  • Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio:

    No, I think the speaker has been clear he's going to stay until after the election. And I think that's just fine.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio, thank you very much.

  • Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio:

    Thank you, Judy.

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