House Republicans are firing up the Jim Jordan show, and it's going to be ugly

Now that they’ve taken nearly a week to even choose a speaker, House Republicans are preparing to show their priorities for governing: personal attacks and efforts to dismantle the government, with sidelines in anti-abortion extremism, ruining the economy, and demonizing migrants.

Up first, creating a special Judiciary subcommittee addressing the “weaponization of the federal government,” by which they mean any federal efforts to stop Republicans from breaking laws. This would of course be a Jim Jordan joint, with Jordan—who will also be the chair of the full Judiciary Committee—getting an extra venue for his sweaty yapping. According to Rep. Chip Roy, in his increasingly desperate bids to gain votes for speaker, Kevin McCarthy promised that such a committee would get at least as much funding as the special committee that investigated the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

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Appearing on Fox News on Friday evening, Roy made clear that the plan was simply to harass the Biden administration with everything House Republicans can muster. “So we got more resources, more specificity, more power to go after this recalcitrant Biden administration,” he said. “That’s really important.”

House Republicans are intending to try to empower their special subcommittee to look into “ongoing criminal investigations,” because having a partisan group putting its nose into criminal investigations just screams “fair and impartial administration of justice.” The Justice Department is likely to fight those efforts in court.

Republicans keep comparing their plan to the Church Committee of the 1970s, which uncovered intelligence agency abuses by both Republican and Democratic administrations, but their goals are obviously very different. Rep. Jerrold Nadler had it right when he compared the planned committee “fueled by conspiracy theories and slated to be run by the most extreme members of the MAGA caucus” to the vile House Un-American Activities Committee of the 20th century.

Make no mistake, though: The key things Gym Jordan and his buddies are interested in here are hamstringing the Biden administration and hampering any investigations into lawbreaking by Donald Trump and his allies. In November, just before Election Day, Jordan released a stunt report angling for headlines, claiming that the FBI “spied on President Trump’s campaign and ridiculed conservative Americans” and that the “rot within the F.B.I. festers in and proceeds from Washington.” Sure sounds like he’s planning a careful, impartial investigation! That report also characterized the FBI’s seizure of Rep. Scott Perry’s cell phone, which was backed by a court-authorized warrant, as the FBI having “stalked a Republican Congressman while on a family vacation to seize his cell phone.” 

And you know what? We don’t yet know that Republicans won’t put Perry himself on the committee to investigate the FBI having been mean to Scott Perry. Perry himself won’t rule out being on the committee. 

“Why should I be limited—why should anybody be limited just because someone has made an accusation?” he said on ABC’s This Week, adding: “I get accused of all kinds of things every single day, as does every member that serves in the public eye. But that doesn’t stop you from doing your job. It is our duty and it is my duty.”

The plan is to go after the government for having refused to allow Republicans to attempt a coup without investigating the crimes committed in the process. And also to talk a lot about Hunter Biden’s laptop and/or penis. This is Republican governance. This is who they are.

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What a way to start the new year! On the first episode of season two of The Downballot, we’re talking with Sara Garcia, the strategy and outreach manager at Crooked Media—home of Pod Save America—about everything her organization does to mobilize progressives and kick GOP ass. Sara tells us how Crooked arose to fill a void in the media landscape, how it not only informs listeners but also gives them tools to take action, and some of her favorite shows that she loves to recommend to folks.

Co-hosts David Nir and David Beard also discuss the Republican shitshow currently unfolding in Congress—and starkly different outcomes in two state legislatures that just elected new House speakers via bipartisan coalitions; the landslide win for the good guys in a special election primary in Virginia; why George Santos faces serious legal trouble that will very likely end with his resignation; and the massive pushback from progressive groups and labor unions against Kathy Hochul’s conservative pick to be New York’s top judge.