House Republicans add Jordan to Intel panel for impeachment probe

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthySaagar Enjeti expresses concern over MSNBC hosting debate after Weinstein scandal Former Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled Saagar Enjeti blasts alleged Epstein cover-up by media MORE (R-Calif.) announced Friday that Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanWill Republicans continue to engage in willful blindness? How Democrats can avoid fatal flaws of their impeachment inquiry Live coverage: Schiff closes with speech highlighting claims of Trump's corruption MORE (R-Ohio) will be placed on the House Intelligence Committee for the duration of the impeachment inquiry.

Jordan, who currently serves as the top Republican on the Oversight and Reform Committee and is one of President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE's most vocal defenders in the lower chamber, has played a leading role in the impeachment hearings held behind closed doors.

He will temporarily take Rep. Rick CrawfordRichard (Rick) CrawfordThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry House Republicans add Jordan to Intel panel for impeachment probe Republican Congressman: DNI Nominee committed to declassification transparency MORE's (R-Ark.) place on the Intelligence panel as House Democrats ramp up their investigation into Trump's dealings with Ukraine and begin holding public hearings next week for their inquiry.

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"Rick is an exemplary member of the House Intelligence Committee and fulfills his oversight responsibilities with a sense of seriousness, thoughtfulness, and dedication to our country," McCarthy said in a statement Friday.

"In Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi’s House, those responsibilities have fallen victim to partisan witch hunts," asserted McCarthy, who selects members to sit on House panels.

In tapping Jordan, Republicans have a member who is a vocal defender of the president and a regular on cable news at a time when the House enters a highly visible phase of the impeachment investigation.

Proponents of the move feel Jordan will help strengthen the GOP's ability to fight back against Democrats' attacks on the president as the majority party prepares to bring forward witnesses they see as having the most damning testimony against Trump's handling of Ukraine policy.

House Democrats announced that William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, and George Kent, a senior State Department official, will testify next Wednesday, with former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch scheduled to testify two days later.

"This is excellent news," Rep. Jeff DuncanJeffrey (Jeff) Darren DuncanHouse Republicans add Jordan to Intel panel for impeachment probe House votes to block drilling in Arctic refuge Overnight Energy: House moves to block Trump drilling | House GOP rolls out proposal to counter offshore drilling ban | calls mount for NOAA probe MORE (R-S.C.) tweeted in touting the announcement that Jordan would be added to the Intelligence panel, calling him "a fighter for the American people."

Crawford tweeted that Jordan "will add critical bandwidth and legal expertise to the House Intelligence Committee during these upcoming public hearings." Jordan will also retain his post on the Oversight Committee.

“I look forward to rejoining my colleagues on [the Intelligence panel] when this impeachment hoax has concluded and we return to the important work and oversight of the Intelligence Community that the committee is intended for," Crawford added.

McCarthy had signaled earlier this week that he would make a change on the Intelligence Committee, which has been tasked with leading the investigation into Trump's dealings with Ukraine, as Democrats push to hold their first open hearings in the probe next week.

“If Democrats are going to turn Intel into the impeachment committee, I am going to make adjustments to that committee accordingly, for a short period of time,” the California Republican told Politico on Tuesday.

On Friday, the House GOP leader dubbed the panel "the partisan Impeachment Committee."

"Along with millions of Americans across the country who are frustrated with this impeachment-obsessed majority, Rick has offered to step aside for this charade," McCarthy said. "When it is finished, Rick will rejoin the committee and resume his work to keep our country safe. Jim Jordan has been on the front lines in the fight for fairness and truth. His addition will ensure more accountability and transparency in this sham process.”

Updated: 2:25 p.m.