Politics

Ryan Defends Jim Jordan, Criticizes Lisa Page

Says Ethics Committee doesn’t investigate accusations like those against Jordan

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., defended Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, amid allegations Jordan knew about sexual abuse while a college wrestling coach. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan defended Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan on Wednesday as Jordan faces allegations he ignored sexual abuse while he was a college wrestling coach.

Ryan said he spoke with Jordan last weekend amid news Jordan’s nephew, a wrestler at the University of Wisconsin, was killed in a car accident.

Jordan is facing allegations from multiple former wrestlers at Ohio State University that he ignored stories of sexual abuse by team physician Dr. Richard Strauss. Jordan was an assistant wrestling coach from 1986 to 1994.

On Wednesday, an eighth wrestler told CNN that Jordan knew about Strauss’ abuse.

 But Ryan praised Jordan’s honesty and integrity in his news conference.

Watch: Ryan Defends Jordan as 'Man of Honesty and of Integrity'

Jim Jordan is a friend of mine,” Ryan said. “We haven’t always agreed with each other over the years. But I’ve always known Jim Jordan to be a man of honesty and a man of integrity.”

Ryan also responded to calls for an investigation by the House Ethics Committee saying it would be out of the House's purview.

“The Ethics committee here investigates things that members do while they were here, not things that happened a couple of decades ago when they were in Congress,” Ryan said.

When the allegations first surfaced last week, Ryan’s spokesman Doug Andres said the allegations were serious and “The speaker will await the findings of that inquiry” that OSU was conducting.

Since then, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Whip Steve Scalise, members of the House Freedom Caucus and Republican leaders in Jordan’s district have defended him, going as far as to say it could be a Democratic hit job.

Jordan also took to Twitter to criticize CNN for contacting his former staffers and interns.

"How can you ever trust such #fakenews?" he tweeted.

Ryan also criticized former FBI lawyer Lisa Page for not testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday despite a congressional subpoena.

Page is under scrutiny after an inspector general report found her and FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok exchanged texts critical of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“She has an obligation to come testify,” Ryan said. “If she wants to come plead the 5th, that’s her choice, but a subpoena to testify before Congress is not optional.”

Page’s attorney Amy Jeffress said her client will testify, but didn’t have time to prepare for the hearing.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.