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Jordan Declares War

That's Jordan the Republican congressman from Ohio, not Jordan the country in the Middle East. As expected, Jim Jordan has declared war on the Biden administration. Specifically, he sent out a boatload of subpoenas to AG Merrick Garland, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona requesting all manner of material. They all have until March 1 to comply. If they don't, Jordan threatened to use compulsory measures to get the information he is demanding.

Jordan sent the subpoenas in his capacity of chairman of the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Government. What they are mostly about is a memo Garland sent in 2021 about intimidation of school officials. The backstory here is that conservative parents have been storming local school boards all over the country demanding that mask mandates be dropped, anti-racism courses be canceled, and LGBTQ policies be stuffed away in some closet. Sometimes they get violent when school officials don't immediately agree to do what they want. After a while, it got out of hand and the National School Boards Association wrote to Joe Biden calling these actions "domestic terrorism" and pleading for federal help. It suggested that the government could invoke the Patriot Act to stop the intimidation and threats of violence.

Conservatives went bonkers over this letter. The group later retracted the reference to "domestic terrorism," but stood by the rest of the letter. Jordan and other fire-breathing right wingers falsely claim that Garland called conservative parents "terrorists." He did nothing of the kind. What he did do is write a letter asking the FBI to cooperate with local law enforcement when school boards were threatened. The letter did not mention the NSBA letter nor did it compare parents to terrorists, but facts don't matter when you have a circus to run.

What Jordan wants is all the internal Justice Department communications on the subject. He's not going to get it. He also wants all of Cardona's communications with the NSBA. He's not going to get that, either. What will happen is there will be some negotiation and Garland might offer Jordan the option of coming to a secure room—minus his cell phone and camera—and be given some of the correspondence to read, under the watchful eye of a DoJ employee to make sure he doesn't try to stuff some of the documents in his pocket. Jordan will reject this offer and go into full grandstanding mode when it happens, threatening compulsory process to enforce the subpoenas. But the process for doing that is to ask the DoJ to indict the people who refused to comply with congressional subpoenas, in this case, Garland, Wray, and Cordana. Good luck with that.

There are Democrats on the Subcommittee. The top Democrat is Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI). She said the subpoenas were based on tired right-wing conspiracy theories. Needless to say, Jordan will ignore her. As an aside, Plaskett, who got her J.D. from American University and used to practice law in D.C., is one of the six nonvoting delegates to the House. They represent D.C., Puerto Rico, and four U.S. territories (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Marianas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Delegates from the Cherokee Nation and Choctaw Nation have been proposed, but not seated. Delegates can do everything representatives can do except vote on the floor of the House. The Senate does not have any nonvoting delegates. (V)

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