Gaetz goes to bat with Trump on Jordan
© Greg Nash

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzTrump: I told Republicans to vote for 'transparency' in releasing Mueller report House votes for Mueller report to be made public Matt Gaetz jabs Don Lemon while talking to Chris Cuomo on CNN MORE (R-Fla.) said he has encouraged President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral MORE to press top House Republicans to pick Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanJordan, Meadows backed by new ads from pro-Trump group: report Jordan jokes that sport coats inhibit him during heated hearings Attorney previously in contact with Cohen pushes back on pardon narrative to CNN MORE (R-Ohio), a former House Freedom Caucus chairman, as ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. 

“I asked the president to weigh in for the sake of the Judiciary Committee and to encourage the leader to ensure that Jim Jordan is the ranking member,” Gaetz, who like Jordan has frequently criticized special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, told The Hill on Thursday. 

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Jordan appears to face an uphill climb to win the Judiciary position despite intervention from Trump, who reportedly called House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOvernight Energy: McConnell tees up vote on Green New Deal | Centrist Dems pitch alternative to plan | House Republican likens Green New Deal to genocide | Coca-Cola reveals it uses 3M tons of plastic every year House GOP lawmaker says Green New Deal is like genocide GOP lawmakers: House leaders already jockeying for leadership contests MORE (R-Calif.) to press him to work out a deal with Jordan that would allow him to be ranking member of Judiciary. That committee would handle impeachment proceedings if articles against the president are filed.

Reps. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsNearly 40 advocacy groups press lawmakers over NSA call records program Trump: Strzok transcript 'devastating' for FBI, DOJ, CIA House Judiciary Republican releases transcript of ex-FBI agent Strzok's testimony MORE (R-Ga.), the vice chairman of the House Republican Conference, and Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotHouse passes series of measures hitting Russia, Putin Trump applauded for walking away from 'bad' North Korea deal The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sanders set to shake up 2020 race MORE (R-Ohio) have both announced their bids for the top GOP spot on the panel. 

And Jordan won just 43 votes to McCarthy’s 159 in the race for minority leader on Wednesday. Jordan has rubbed a number of GOP lawmakers the wrong way as the Freedom Caucus has used its muscle to move legislation to the right.

“There would be a lot of people who would have conversations with Leader McCarthy if Jordan was rewarded with a ranking member spot due to pressure from the president and our leadership team to try to steer the Steering Committee,” one McCarthy ally told The Hill this week.

Even some conservatives are skeptical that the president's input could lead to Jordan winning the post.
 
"I think that's still a very wide open race right now - I think odds on favorite right now are on Doug Collins," one Jordan ally told The Hill Thursday.  

Gaetz argued that Republicans would be fielding their “best team if Jim Jordan was the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.”

Jordan hasn’t said whether he will officially run for the position. 

“I'm always interested in, you know, how we can best do the right kind of investigations and defend the truth as I said before,” he told reporters Wednesday. “So, I just think we have to wait and see.”

Jordan would be in line to be ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (OGR), but Gaetz said he’d be a better fit on Judiciary given the possibility of impeachment.

“I mean look — OGR is the subpoena cannon committee according to the Democrats, but the Judiciary Committee is going to be covered like the O.J. [Simpson] trial,” he said. 

Gaetz said while he believes Collins or Chabot would have made “phenomenal chairman,” he said they don't bring the level of expertise needed for the role of ranking member on the panel. 

“Neither of them are up on the facts regarding the Russia investigation and our oversight of the FBI and neither of them are prepared to be the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee,” he said.