Gaetz goes to bat with Trump on Jordan
© Greg Nash

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzHouse passes bill expressing support for NATO Maduro starts new term in Venezuela facing US sanctions, lack of legitimacy abroad Rick Scott threw party at Florida governor’s mansion after DeSantis and family had moved in: report MORE (R-Fla.) said he has encouraged President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I will deliver State of the Union 'when the shutdown is over' Former NYPD commander claims Trump got special treatment for gun licenses Colbert starts petition for Cardi B to give State of the Union rebuttal MORE to press top House Republicans to pick Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanHouse passes bill expressing support for NATO Cohen will not answer questions about ongoing probes involving Trump, GOP lawmakers say McCarthy, allies retaliate against Freedom Caucus leader 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 McCarthyPoll shows 25 percent view McConnell favorably, lowest among leaders in survey Rep. Omar apologizes for tweet about Israel Elise Stefanik seeks to tackle GOP’s women ‘crisis’ ahead of 2020 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 CollinsTop Judiciary Republican sees potential for bipartisan agreement on cyber issues Steve King faces new storm over remarks about white supremacy Republicans question progress on probe of DOJ, FBI actions during 2016 MORE (R-Ga.), the vice chairman of the House Republican Conference, and Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump headed to border as shutdown hits Day 20 | Talks fall apart | Emergency plan could set up clash with GOP House passes resolution calling for release of Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar This week: Lawmakers return to mourn George H.W. Bush 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.