On Thursday, Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan appeared before the House Judiciary Committee. Initially, there were expectations of a tough interrogation similar to what had happened with FBI Director Christopher Wray the previous day with committee chair Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and his allies hammering on a familiar subject: the weaponization of government against conservatives.
Jordan kicked off the hearing with accusatory remarks, suggesting that Khan ignored an ethics official’s advice in declining to recuse in a merger case involving Meta and overstepped boundaries in seeking information from Twitter about releases of personal user data to journalists.
However, things took a different turn as the hearing progressed. Republican committee members largely avoided Jordan’s confrontational line of inquiry and instead focused on more substantial topics like monopolies in industries such as pharmacies and food stores. In fact, even where they disagreed with Khan, the was surprisingly substantive, a faint glimmer of actual congressional work on a committee characterized often by spin and shouting. All told, it was a remarkably substantive discussion, at least by the low standards of this Congress.
Two committee Republicans, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL), openly praised of Khan. Buck undermined his own party’s case against Khan’s lack of recusal in the Meta case, pointing out that the ethics official who expressed concerns about Khan’s participation actually had stock in Meta herself, while Khan has no such holdings. Several Democrats reiterated the ethics official’s potential conflict.
In short, the hearing showed that Jordan, in attempting to use the hearing to push his baseless claim of the weaponization of government to Khan’s work at the FTC, didn’t have buy-in from his colleagues.
If this was supposed to be a springing of a trap, the trap didn’t spring and Jordan’s ambush turned disastrous for him.
Watch the hearing below: