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Kevin Cramer faces MSNBC hosts on media priorities comments

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North Dakota Representative Kevin Cramer speaks Sunday, April 3, 2016, at the ND GOP Convention at Scheels Arena in Fargo of his choice to endorse Donald Trump for president. Rick Abbott / The Forum2 / 2

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., was grilled Friday by MSNBC hosts Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle in a wide-ranging segment led by talk of the investigation of President Donald Trump's ties to Russia.

Cramer described the media's interest in the investigation as rooted in "an unhealthy obsession with Russia," a point Velshi immediately challenged. Cramer stuck to that characterization on the assertion that "90 percent of a newscast" might focus on the alleged ties to Russia while ignoring a host of other issues.

Velshi immediately fired back at the representative.

"Have you ever watched what we do?" he asked. Velshi listed various domestic issues covered by the program before accusing Cramer of "issuing Republican talking points right now" in his statements about the media's interest. Ruhle echoed that point later on, saying the president has used press opportunities to speak freely about the investigation rather than push GOP policy.

Cramer and the hosts went back and forth for the rest of the segment, which the hosts pushed to topics like visa programs and health care reform. The segment ended with Velshi returning the opening topic and slamming the congressman for his stance on media priorities.

"I'm going to ask our producers, congressman, to send you links to all of the stuff Stephanie and I have done on (domestic issues) so you don't go on anyone else's TV and spout this nonsense about how the media is obsessed with Russia. We talk about a lot of stuff."

Andrew Haffner

Andrew Haffner covers higher education and general assignment stories for the Grand Forks Herald. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he studied journalism, political science and international studies. He previously worked at the Dickinson Press.

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