Hours after the Justice Department and FBI announced that they are investigating whether any laws were broken in the handling of the Russian election-meddling investigation, multiple lawmakers appeared to question the prudence of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision to invite Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio to a closed-door briefing with the Justice Department and FBI. Meadows and Jordan are among the more conservative members of the House Republican Caucus, and both are frequent targets of criticism from the political left.
“If a majority leader does that, it’s actually suggesting that they should go ahead and put the organization in jeopardy,” Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., a moderate Republican who serves on the House Oversight Committee, told The Associated Press. “I would never ever in my life participate in that.”
After Denham spoke, Meadows seized on the statement to question Ryan’s ethics.
“[Ryan] gives Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) room to go rogue. Now Ryan is letting moderate Republicans go rogue,” he tweeted.
That such criticism comes from the relatively moderate Denham suggests that it might signal a schism within the Republican caucus, with some conservatives pointing the finger at Ryan, who is seen as too moderate for their tastes.
Another GOP moderate, Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, who sits on the Financial Services Committee, announced last week that he would not attend any of the House GOP’s closed-door briefings on the Russia probe.
“Republicans shouldn’t listen to their leadership’s demands that we blindly support the D.C. political establishment after they repeatedly reneged on promises to repeal ObamaCare, pass tax reform, reform entitlements, and reform the budget,” Curbelo said.
Curbelo’s decision came a day after he lost a symbolic vote to defend the anti-Trump investigation by calling for an internal inquiry into Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s bias and documented bias against Trump.
The debate comes after a tumultuous week for House Republicans, who are already reeling from a surprise primary loss in Kansas that pitted a much more moderate Republican, Kevin Yoder, against hard-line incumbent Ron Estes.
Read the full story at The Associated Press.
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