COLUMBUS, Ohio - U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan said Wednesday that he spoke to former President Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol - not during - as he blasted Democrats for continuing to probe the attack.
Jordan spoke to lawmakers on the House Rules Committee as they considered a report to hold former Trump adviser Steve Bannon in contempt after he defied a congressional subpoena from the House select committee investigating Jan. 6. The report will move to the full House for consideration, although the Justice Department will have the final say on whether to prosecute Bannon.
Jordan, a Republican representing Ohio's 4th Congressional District, is a top Trump ally and has found himself at the center of the committee's investigation. Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney has said he could be a "material witness" for the events leading up to Jan. 6 and efforts to block certification of the presidential election.
Cheney is one of two Republicans serving on the committee. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy recommended Jordan to join the panel, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi blocked his appointment.
During Wednesday's meeting, Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern asked Jordan to clarify when he called Trump on Jan. 6. Jordan previously told Spectrum News 1 that he talked to the former president but couldn't remember when, and Politico reported that they spoke twice that day.
Jordan said Wednesday he "did not speak to the president during the attack." He also denied speaking with Trump about what McGovern called a "coordinated effort" to overturn the election results.
"I talk to the president all the time," Jordan told the committee. "I talked to him that day. My understanding is, from my memory, I talked to him after the attack happened and we were moved to the chamber. I may have talked to him before. I don't know. All I'm saying is I had nothing to do with any of this."
Jordan accused Democrats of using Jan. 6 to distract from other issues and claimed the committee violated the personal liberties of rally organizers when lawmakers subpoenaed them. He said the committee should focus on the "lack of a proper security presence that day."
Democrats said lawmakers have the right to request materials from Bannon and others as part of the investigation.
"What happened on Jan. 6, that was a direct attack on liberty," Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter said. "That was a direct attack on freedom. That was a direct attack on people's right to vote."
USA TODAY contributed to this report.
Haley BeMiller is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Jim Jordan says he spoke to Donald Trump after Jan. 6 Capitol attack