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Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Staff/Getty Images

Republicans formally made Rep. Jim Jordan a member of the House Intelligence Committee on Friday, a move that will allow him lead the party's defense of President Trump during public impeachment hearings next week.

Why it matters: Privately, GOP members have said they think Jordan — one of Trump's fiercest allies — is a stronger defender of the party and the president on impeachment than the current ranking member, Rep. Devin Nunes.

  • Jordan has quickly become House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff's counterpart as the face of Republicans' defense so far. Unlike Nunes, Jordan has been present at every deposition, according to transcripts he has already actively participated in questioning witnesses, and is among the first to speak in front of the cameras when the committees emerge from closed-door hearings.

Details: Jordan’s general counsel Steve Castor is now shared staff with the House Intelligence Committee, and will be leading the 45 minutes of staff questions Republicans get next week during public hearings.

What they're saying: GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted on Friday, "I am appointing @Jim_Jordan to the Intelligence Committee—where he will continue fighting for fairness and truth. @RepRickCrawford has been an exemplary member of the committee and will rejoin it when this Democrat charade is over."

Behind the scenes: McCarthy has been flirting for days with sliding Jordan, previously the ranking member on House Oversight, onto the Intelligence committee.

  • McCarthy also suggested he might loan some of Trump's other attack dogs, like Reps. Mark Meadows and Lee Zeldin, to the committee as well.

What's next: The committee will hear Bill Taylor, the top American diplomat in Ukraine, and Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent, for the first day of public hearings next Wednesday.

Go deeper:

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7 mins ago - Economy & Business

Boeing gets huge 737 Max order from Ryanair, boosting hope for quick rebound

Ryanair low cost airline Boeing 737-800 aircraft as seen over the runway. Photo by Nik Oiko/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Dublin-based Ryanair said it would add 75 more planes to an existing order for Boeing's 737 Max airplanes, a giant vote of confidence as Boeing seeks to revive sales of its best-selling plane after a 20-month safety ban following two fatal crashes.

The big picture: Ryanair's big order, on the heels of breakthrough vaccine news, is also a promising sign that the devastated airline industry might recover from the global pandemic sooner than expected.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
11 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Trump sets auction for Arctic refuge drilling rights before Biden takes office

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Interior Department on Thursday said it will auction oil drilling leases in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in early January.

Why it matters: The procedural step would make it harder for President-elect Joe Biden to thwart drilling in the region, even though any actual development is years away.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney elected chair of House Democrats' campaign arm

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) on Thursday was elected chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the 2022 cycle, narrowly defeating Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.) 119 to 107, Politico reports.

Why it matters: Maloney will be tasked with protecting House Democrats' slim majority in 2022 after they underperformed in November's election, losing seats in down-ballot races across the country.