House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan made false claims in his opening remarks at a Wednesday hearing at which Jordan and other Republicans pressed Attorney General Merrick Garland about the Justice Department’s handling of investigations into former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden.
Here is a fact check of two inaccurate remarks from Jordan. The hearing is ongoing; this article might be updated with additional fact checks.
FBI search of Mar-a-Lago
Criticizing the FBI search of Trump’s home in Florida in August 2022, Jordan, a Republican from Ohio, falsely claimed in his opening statement at Wednesday’s hearing that Trump did everything the Justice Department had asked him to do prior to the search.
Among other acts of compliance, Jordan said, Trump immediately turned over 38 documents he discovered prior to the search, then complied with a Justice Department request to further secure the storage room where official documents were being stored.
“Everything they asked him to do, he did. And then what’s the Justice Department do? August 8, last year, they raid President Trump’s home,” Jordan said.
Facts First: Jordan’s claim that Trump did “everything” the Justice Department asked him to do is incorrect. When the Justice Department obtained a May 2022 grand jury subpoena demanding that Trump turn over all documents with classification markings, Trump did not do so. Instead, Trump’s indictment alleges, he turned over just 38 documents with classification markings in June 2022, far fewer than he had; the August 2022 FBI search of Mar-a-Lago found 102 additional documents with classification markings. In addition, the indictment alleges that, upon producing the 38 documents, Trump intentionally had one of his lawyers sign a document that falsely certified that all the documents demanded by the subpoena had been produced.
The indictment, brought by special counsel Jack Smith, also alleges that Trump committed multiple other acts of obstruction to try to avoid complying with the May 2022 subpoena.
The indictment says that Trump directed an aide, Walt Nauta, to move boxes before Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran conducted a search for the documents in early June 2022 in response to the subpoena, “so that many boxes were not searched and many documents responsive to the May 11 Subpoena could not be found – and in fact were not found – by (Corcoran).” The indictment also alleges that Trump suggested that Corcoran falsely represent to the government that Trump “did not have documents called for by the May 11 Subpoena” and that Corcoran “hide or destroy documents called for by the May 11 Subpoena.”
Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Hunter Biden’s qualifications
Jordan claimed that Hunter Biden has himself admitted that he was unqualified for his former role on the board of directors of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.
“He wasn’t qualified to be on the board of Burisma. Not my words, his words,” Jordan said. “He said he got on the board because of his last name.”
Facts First: It’s not true that Hunter Biden himself said he wasn’t qualified to sit on the Burisma board. In fact, Hunter Biden said in a 2019 interview with ABC News that “I was completely qualified to be on the board” and defended his qualifications in detail. He did acknowledge, as Jordan said, that he would “probably not” have been asked to be on the board if he was not a Biden – but he nonetheless explicitly rejected claims that he wasn’t qualified, calling them “misinformation.”
When the ABC interviewer asked what his qualifications for the role were, he said: “Well, I was vice chairman on the board of Amtrak for five years. I was the chairman of the board of the UN World Food Programme. I was a lawyer for Boies Schiller Flexner, one of the most prestigious law firms in the world. Bottom line is that I know that I was completely qualified to be on the board to head up the corporate governance and transparency committee on the board. And that’s all that I focused on. Basically, turning a Eastern European independent natural gas company into Western standards of corporate governance.”
When the ABC interviewer said, “You didn’t have any extensive knowledge about natural gas or Ukraine itself, though,” Biden responded, “No, but I think I had as much knowledge as anybody else that was on the board – if not more.”
Asked if he would have been asked to be on the board if his last name wasn’t Biden, Biden said, “I don’t know. I don’t know. Probably not.” He added “there’s a lot of things” in his life that wouldn’t have happened if he had a different last name.
A side note: Biden had served as the board chair for World Food Program USA, a nonprofit that supports the UN World Food Programme, not the UN program itself as he claimed in the interview.
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