Watch CBS News

Jim Jordan and the House Judiciary Committee prepare to probe matters involving two presidents — "The Takeout"

Listen to this episode on ART19

The House Judiciary Committee will investigate how the Justice Department handled two classified records matters involving presidents, says the panel's chairman, GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, of Ohio. 

In the 118th Congress, Jordan's panel will probe how the department handled investigations into classified materials found at former President Donald Trump's Florida home and those found at President Joe Biden's  office in a Washington think tank bearing his name and his Delaware home, Jordan told CBS News on "The Takeout" this week. 

"Right now there are tons of questions," Jordan said. "A lot of those I think will be answered in the Intelligence Committee and the Oversight Committee. But we'll be looking at the Justice Department component." 

Jordan said that at first, "it looked like the White House had had this all wrapped up in a in a bow with a ribbon on top." But that neatness unraveled, Jordan said, with disclosures of more documents with classified markings found in the garage of Mr. Biden's Delaware home and an adjacent room. The revelation of this discovery came days after CBS News first reported that around 10 classified documents were found at the Penn Biden Center, a Washington, D.C. think tank.

The documents are related to Mr. Biden's tenure as vice president.  

"I would think that would only add to the weight of it," Jordan said, when asked about documents dating back that far. "The vice president can handle classified material, obviously, because of an executive order. So he had them. But I do think, you know, six years? Were these documents at the (think tank) for six years or most of that six-year time frame? There are tons of questions but the White House doesn't seem to have many answers right now." 

Jordan's interview on "The Takeout" occurred before Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the Biden document matter on Thursday. But Jordan seemed to support the idea of a special counsel to investigate the Biden documents. 

"All I know is there's one for President Trump. And now we have a similar situation happening with President Biden," Jordan said. "So if you're going to be consistent, it looks like there should be. And if that's what's warranted, I'm fine with it." 

The new Judiciary Committee chairman said he's suspicious of representations made by the White House that lawyers were involved in moving papers out of Biden's think tank office.  

"I'm just a country boy," Jordan said. "When we move things, you know, you call up your family, you buy pizza for them and you get the truck and you move things. It's not lawyers who are moving things. So they were obviously they're looking for something."  

Jordan suggested moving Biden papers might have been an effort to fend off future questions from House GOP-led committees into Biden family finances. 

"Maybe they were getting ahead of that, getting ahead of the curve. I don't know that," he said. "But that could be a reason you have lawyers involved with the moving process." 

On whether he thought there might be criminality involved, Jordan replied, "We'll wait and see." 

He declined to comment on previous calls by some House Republicans to impeach Mr. Biden.  

"That's a question for the entire Republican conference," Jordan said. 

Other highlights

Jordan said the focus of a new "select" committee on the "weaponization of government"  is "not necessarily" to investigate or short-circuit a "specific ongoing criminal investigation." The select committee, which he is likely to chair, will investigate a "double standard" of justice applied to First Amendment protections, mostly, he said, to the detriment of conservatives or conservative causes. 

Jordan said he was not necessarily opposed to seeing former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro's U.S. visa revoked. "We will talk with our staff and some of our members and see," he said. Immigration policy, too, falls under Judiciary Committee jurisdiction.

"I haven't even, you know, taken a look at that situation," Jordan said. Some Democrats have called for Bolsonaro's temporary visa to be revoked in light of the storming government buildings by pro-Bolsonaro protesters angry about his recent election defeat. Bolsonaro is currently in Orlando, Fla. 

Jordan described former Trump's influence in the House GOP conference and national Republican Party as "huge." 

"He's the party leader and I think he was a great president." 

Jordan says he hasn't seen evidence that Trump lost favor or clout following a disappointing GOP performance in the midterm elections. "I disagree. He's announced he's running for president. So, there's going to be a primary, and I think he's going to win." 

Though he describes Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, a possible rival to Trump, as a "great guy" who has done "an amazing job as governor," Jordan says, "I'm for President Trump, whether he runs or not… I think he's going to win." 

Executive producer: Arden Farhi

Producers: Jamie Benson, Jacob Rosen, Sara Cook and Eleanor Watson

CBSN Production: Eric Soussanin 
Show email:
Twitter: @TakeoutPodcast
Instagram: @TakeoutPodcast

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.