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Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Former Ohio State University wrestlers are accusing Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus and the university's assistant wrestling coach from 1986 to 1994, of ignoring or failing to act against accusations of sexual abuse against the team's doctor, NBC News' Corky Siemaszko reports.

The details: Jordan denies having ever heard of, seen, or known about allegations of sexual abuse against Dr. Richard Strauss, who died in 2005. But former wrestler Mike DiSabato, whose allegations prompted OSU to open an investigation earlier this year, told NBC News that Jordan "is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on."

  • Two wrestlers, DiSabato and Dunyasha Yetts, went on the record with NBC News about their disappointment with Jordan's denials. Three other former wrestlers told NBC it was impossible for Jordan to be unaware — and one claimed he told Jordan directly.
  • In an email to the law firm representing OSU, DiSabato wrote that "Strauss sexually assaulted male athletes in at least 15 varsity sports during his employment at OSU from 1978 through 1998. ... Based on testimony from victim athletes from each of the aforementioned varsity sports, we estimate that Strauss sexually assaulted and/or raped a minimum of 1,500/2,000 athletes at OSU from 1978 through 1998."
  • The university confirmed to NBC that it received "confidential reports of sexual misconduct committed by Strauss" from athletes in 14 sports.

Timing: OSU wrestlers came forward about Strauss after the case against Olympics gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

[I]t’s sad for me to hear that he’s denying knowing about Strauss. I don’t know why he would, unless it’s a cover-up. Either you’re in on it, or you’re a liar.
— Yetts to NBC News

What they're saying:

  • Ian Fury, Jordan's spokesman, told NBC: "Congressman Jordan never saw any abuse, never heard about any abuse, and never had any abuse reported to him during his time as a coach at Ohio State. ... He has not been contacted by investigators about the matter but will assist them in any way they ask, because if what is alleged is true, the victims deserve a full investigation and justice."
  • OSU said in a statement on the investigation: "Our efforts will continue to be focused on uncovering what may have happened during this era, what university leaders at the time may have known, and whether any response at the time was appropriate."
  • Doug Andres, spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, told Axios: "These are serious allegations and issues. The university has rightfully initiated a full investigation into the matter. The speaker will await the findings of that inquiry.”

Go deeper

White House says it expects federal contractors to be vaccinated by Dec. 8

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House said in new guidance Friday that it expects millions of federal contractors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus no later than Dec. 8.

Why it matters: Companies with federal contractors have been waiting for formal guidance from the White House before requiring those employees to get vaccinated, according to Reuters.

CDC director maintains Pfizer booster recommendation for high-risk workers

Rochelle Walensky listens during a confirmation hearing on July 20. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky on Friday reiterated her decision to go against a recommendation by a CDC advisory panel that refused to endorse booster shots for workers whose jobs put them at high risk for contracting COVID-19.

Driving the news: "Our healthcare systems are once again at maximum capacity in parts of the country, our teachers are facing uncertainty as they walk into the classroom," Walensky said at a Friday briefing. "I must do what I can to preserve the health across our nation."

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats release full text of Biden's $3.5T reconciliation package

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday unveiled the full text of President Biden's $3.5 trillion social spending package.

Why it matters: Democrats are racing to finish negotiations and get the bill on the floor as soon as possible so Pelosi can fulfill her promises to both House centrists and progressives about the timing and sequencing of passing the party's dual infrastructure packages.