Jordan and other Republicans are questioning Attorney General Merrick Garland
Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, made false claims in his opening remarks at a hearing on Wednesday in which Jordan and other Republicans questioned Attorney General Merrick Garland about the Justice Department’s handling of investigations into former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden.
Here’s a fact check on two of Jordan’s incorrect statements. The hearing is still going on, so this article may be updated with new information.
FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago
Jordan, a Republican from Ohio, falsely claimed in his opening statement at Wednesday’s hearing that Trump did everything the Justice Department had asked him to do prior to the FBI search of Trump’s home in Florida in August 2022.
According to Jordan, among other acts of compliance, Trump immediately turned over 38 documents discovered prior to the search, and then complied with a Justice Department request to further secure the storage room where official documents were kept.
“He did everything they asked him to do.” So, what does the Justice Department do now? “They raided President Trump’s home on August 8, last year,” Jordan said.
Facts First, Jordan’s assertion that Trump did “everything” the Justice Department asked of him is false. When the Justice Department obtained a grand jury subpoena in May 2022 demanding that Trump turn over all documents with classification markings, Trump refused. Instead, according to the indictment, Trump 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 discovered 102 additional documents with classification markings. Furthermore, the indictment alleges that after delivering the 38 documents, Trump had one of his lawyers sign a document that falsely certified that all of the documents demanded by the subpoena had been delivered.
The indictment, brought by special counsel Jack Smith, also alleges that Trump engaged in numerous other acts of obstruction in order to avoid complying with the subpoena issued in May 2022.
According to the indictment, Trump directed an aide, Walt Nauta, to move boxes before Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran searched for the documents in early June 2022 in response to the subpoena, “so that many boxes were not searched and many documents responsive to the May 11 Subpoena could not be found – and in fact were not found by (Corcoran).” According to the indictment, Trump suggested to Corcoran that he falsely represent to the government that Trump “did not have documents called for by the May 11 Subpoena” and that Corcoran “hide or destroy documents called for by the May 11 Subpoena.”
Trump has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges leveled against him.
Hunter Biden’s credentials
Hunter Biden, according to Jordan, admitted that he was unqualified for his former position on the board of directors of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.
“He was unqualified to serve on the Burisma board of directors.” “Not my words, but his,” Jordan explained. “He said he got on the board because of his last name.”
First and foremost, Hunter Biden did not say he was unqualified to serve on the Burisma board. In fact, in a 2019 interview with ABC News, Hunter Biden stated that “I was completely qualified to be on the board” and detailed his qualifications. He did admit, as Jordan did, that if he hadn’t been a Biden, he would “probably not” have been asked to serve on the board – but he still explicitly rejected claims that he wasn’t qualified, calling them “misinformation.”
When asked about his qualifications for the position, he told the ABC interviewer, “Well, I was vice chairman on the board of Amtrak for five years.” I was the chairman of the UN World Food Programme’s board of directors. I worked as a lawyer for Boies Schiller Flexner, one of the world’s most prestigious law firms. Bottom line, I am confident that I am fully qualified to lead the corporate governance and transparency committee on the board. That was all I concentrated on. Essentially, transforming an Eastern European independent natural gas company into Western corporate governance standards.”
“You didn’t have any extensive knowledge about natural gas or Ukraine itself, though,” the ABC interviewer said. “No, but I think I had as much knowledge as anybody else on the board – if not more.”
When asked if he would have been asked to serve on the board if his surname had not been Biden, Biden replied, “I don’t know.” I’m not sure. Most likely not.” “There’s a lot of things” in his life that wouldn’t have happened if he had a different surname, he added.
Aside: Biden was the board chair of World Food Program USA, a nonprofit that supports the UN World Food Programme, not the UN program itself, as he stated in the interview.