WASHINGTON — Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), known for being fiercely conservative and combative in congressional hearings, had a plan for Wednesday's House Judiciary Committee hearing with former Special Counsel Robert Mueller. He wanted to make sure people didn't forget that there are still some unanswered questions about how the original investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 election began.
"So my goal was to get truth for the American people, which is what I always try to do in these hearings but also to underscore just how important it is that the Attorney General's investigation to get to the heart of how this whole crazy thing happened three years ago," Jordan said during an interview with VICE News. But that goal was part of an overall Republican plan, partially orchestrated by Jordan, to call into question the origins of the investigation into Russian interference in the election.
During the hearing, Jordan used his time to question Mueller about one aspect of the investigation that most people have not been fixated on. A guy named Joseph Mifsud who, according to Mueller’s report, is a “Maltese national and former London-based professor who, immediately after returning from Moscow in April 2016, told George Papadopoulos that the Russians had ‘dirt’ in the form of thousands of Clinton emails.”
Mifsud allegedly lied to federal investigators, but he was never charged with a crime. Jordan wants to know why and Mueller was not forthcoming. “That guy lies to the FBI when they talk to him. Now everyone else who's around associates with President Trump who lies gets charged with the crime. But somehow if you lie and you're not associated with President Trump, you don't get charged with a crime. I think that's interesting,” Jordan said.
Mueller refused to answer his questions, repeating multiple times that he couldn’t “get into that.” It’s unclear why he couldn’t answer those questions but it’s possible that Mifsud is still part of an ongoing investigation.
Jordan appears pretty committed to learning more about this aspect of Mueller’s investigation, but for much of the rest, he thinks it’s time to move on, especially when it comes to obstruction of justice inquires.
When asked whether anything related to the obstruction section of the Mueller Report bothered him, he said: “So the thing that concerns me most, I’ll be honest, in Volume two [of the Mueller report] is that the burden of proof was flipped. The standard was inverted. And that is not how it works in our system.”
While there will be disagreements about the usefulness of Mueller’s testimony, Jordan said that overall the hearing was a good thing. “It’s always important for the people of this great country…to see how our system works. To have these kind of hearings where the folks that they elected to represent them and their family in the United States Congress get to ask questions. And the American people get information. That's how it's supposed to work.”
This segment originally aired July 24, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.