Jim Jordan blocks Democrats from seeing evidence in chaotic ‘weaponisation of government’ hearing

A hearing of the House Judiciary Committee descended into chaos on Thursday morning when Ohio representative and chair Jim Jordan asserted that the Republicans on the committee do not have to turn over key evidence to their Democratic colleagues because it came from a “whistleblower.”

Mr Jordan convened the committee on Thursday for a hearing on the “weaponisation of government,” calling witnesses to testify to alleged biases in federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI.

Shortly after the hearing began, however, Democrats began raising an issue: Mr Jordan’s refusal to turn over evidence, including witness testimony, to the Democrat members of the committee.

Rep Stacey Plaskett, a delegate from the US Virgin Islands, asked Mr Jordan whether he would turn over the testimony regarding the Republicans’ conversation with a witness. Mr Jordan said no, arguing that the witness is a whistleblower.

“Right now, you’re not getting the testimony,” Mr Jordan responded.

His refusal to turn over testimony to the minority party, a highly unusual practice for a committee hearing, continued to rankle Democrats.

“I find it incredible that evidence that one side has garnered is not going to be shared with the other side,” Rep Linda Sanchez of California said. “That’s not how committees work.”

Ms Sanchez went on to argue that the hearing as a whole was a “vehicle to legitimise the events of January 6 and the people who legitimised it” as former President Donald Trump makes another run for office.

Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida then argued that Mr Jordan was violating committee rules by refusing to turn over evidence.

“It’s my understanding that the minority, in this committee, under the rules, is entitled to the same testimony, information, documents that the majority is titled to,” Ms Wasserman Schultz said. “I’m not aware that you’re able to withhold information from the minority that we would need to use to prepare.”

Mr Jordan again argued that there are different rules concerning whistleblower evidence.

“When it comes to whistleblowers, you’re not,” Mr Jordan said. “When it comes to whistleblowers, you are not.”

The hearing then descended into chaos, with several members speaking over each other and Mr Jordan growing animated — particularly at Ms Wasserman Schultz’s observation that the witnesses in question have not been legally classified as whistleblowers at all.

“These are not whistleblowers,” Ms Wasserman Schultz said. “They’ve been determined by the agency not to be whistleblowers. Are you deciding that they’re whistleblowers?”

Mr Jordan then accused Ms Wasserman Schultz of not listening to witness testimony as the hearing eventually continued in a contentious fashion.