One of Donald Trump’s most loyal champions in the House of Representatives battled a CNN reporter on Sunday over whether all the documents retained without the consent of the National Archives at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate were declassified.
Jim Jordan, chair of the House Oversight Committee, appeared on CNN’s State of the Union for an interview with Dana Bash. During the interview, the two disagreed over whether Mr Trump himself had admitted that some of the documents he retained were still classified, which statements cited by the Justice Department in his indictment suggest was the case.
“In this indictment, he states on at least one occasion that he did not declassify the information,” Bash told the Republican congressman in the interview.
Mr Jordan responded, however, by pointing to numerous public statements by the former president insisting otherwise, an apparent contradiction of the statements cited by the DoJ in the agency’s investigation.
“Dana, he has said time and time again that he declassified all this material,” Mr Jordand responded. He later added: “I go on the president’s word and he said he did.”
It’s an interesting defence of the former president’s remarks, given that Mr Trump has a long and well-documented history of spreading false claims and misinformation. Most recently, the twice-impeached ex-president has been reported, according to The New York Times, to have told supporters at his events at Mar-a-Lago that he will be reinstated as president in some sort of vindication of his (also false) claims that the 2020 election was rigged.
Mr Jordan has long been a defender of the former president amid his various legal escapades, a role more establishment-aligned Republicans (especially those in the Senate) have shunned.
In recent weeks he has sought to use his powerful chairmanship of the Oversight Committee to impose an investigation on the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in response to that office’s prosecution of Mr Trump for falsifying business records in connection to hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
Mr Trump was charged with 34 criminal counts in that case earlier this year; he now additionally faces 37 felony counts brought by the US Department of Justice.