WASHINGTON (WCMH/AP) — Ohio Republican Jim Jordan says he plans to run to become the next Speaker of the House, USA Today confirms.
Jordan, who is one of the most powerful conservatives and founding member of the Freedom Caucus, plans to announce his bid later today, sources told the paper. If elected, he would replace outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan.
The news comes just one day after Jordan and 10 other Republicans filed articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Jordan has criticized Rosenstein for not being responsive enough to requests for documents related to the Russia investigation as well as a closed investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Current House Speaker Ryan says he does not support the effort to impeach Rosenstein, and says he doesn’t think lawmakers should be “cavalier” with the impeachment process.
He also says Rosenstein’s back-and-forth with congressional Republicans over document requests doesn’t rise to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that would warrant impeachment under the Constitution.
Jordan has recently come under scrutiny after several ex-wrestlers at Ohio State University accused him of knowingly ignoring sexual abuse allegations. Jordan used to coach wrestling at the university, and he has been interviewed by a law firm investigating allegations that a now-dead team doctor sexually abused male athletes there decades ago.
Jordan has publicly said he was never aware of abuse when he was an assistant coach from 1987 to 1995, and he has repeatedly denied some former wrestlers’ claims that he knew they were inappropriately groped by Strauss.
A watchdog group and a former special counsel to President Barack Obama have sought an ethics review of the congressman, who is a founder of the conservative Freedom Caucus and potential contender for House speaker.
A string of former coaching colleagues and ex-athletes have spoken up in defense of Jordan, with some of them also saying they never knew of abuse while at Ohio State. House Speaker Paul Ryan also defended Jordan, calling him “a man of integrity.” However, former OSU wrestling head coach Russ Hellickson told USA TODAY Jordan was aware Strauss made the athletes uncomfortable.