It’s a curious feature of the law that even if the statute of limitations has run out on a crime, or even if a given event isn’t specifically listed on the criminal statute, you can still be convicted of a crime if you lie about it, in certain circumstances. One of those circumstances is lying in front of a congressional committee.
I’m referring to the fact that Jim Jordan (and others) have been subpoenaed to appear before the January 6 Committee next month. If, in the course of the hearing, Mr. Jordan should lie to the committee at any point he can go to jail for it. And before you insist such a thing could never happen, just ask Michael Cohen. One of the charges for which he was put in jail for three years included “one count of making false statements to a congressional committee.”
Where I’m going with this is, the January 6 Committee now has an opportunity to ask Jordan if, while working as the assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University, he ignored or covered up multiple instances or sexual assault and rape committed against his athletes by the team doctor. Jordan will almost certainly lie about that. So in a single stroke the Committee could put Jordan in prison and out of office for a grave injustice that he appears to have gotten away with so far.
In a court of law such a question probably couldn’t be asked if Jordan were on trial for, say, assisting in the overthrow of the sovereign government of the United States. The question’s relevance could be challenged by the defense. But a congressional committee can ask any questions it wants. I hope that’s one of them. Because, apart from assisting in the overthrow of the sovereign government of the United States, Jordan is also an accessory to rape and I would love to see him go to prison for lying about that too — live and on television.
Apart from Jordan, it was recently revealed that the following list of notorious characters have also been subpoenaed: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Congressman Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Congressman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Ala.). No doubt this is just the beginning of a list that will probably include Donald Trump himself.
Expect them all to lie and lie big. Either that or they will take the Fifth Amendment or fail to appear. But should they plead the Fifth, it would not be inappropriate for a commentator to remind viewers what Donald Trump had to say on the topic: “You see the mob takes the Fifth,” he said. “If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” Should they fail to appear they can go to jail for that, too.
Next month’s televised January 6 committee hearing promises to be a delightful extravaganza. The Republican Party will not do well, which is why they are so dead set against the idea of the committee in the first place. It promises to be a multiple media event, including video of past comments by many of the witnesses, showing them directly contradicting anything they might be saying to the committee at any given moment.
Republicans say they’re opposed to the committee because it’s a “witch hunt.” But in reality it’s a dangerous place for them to be. They know that if they lie they could go to prison. They also know that if they tell the truth they could go to prison. They also know that if they fail to show up they could go to prison. They aren’t contemptuous of the committee, they’re terrified of it. And they have every reason to be. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.