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Port: Sorry, Armstrong and Cramer, but the Jan. 6 commission matters

If our congressional delegation isn't paying attention to the Jan. 6 committee, if they're dismissive of its revelations, then they are derelict in their duties to our state, and our country.

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U.S. House Select Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., left, and Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., participate in the fourth hearing on the committee's Jan. 6 investigation on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, June 21, 2022.
Yuri Gripas / TNS
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MINOT, N.D. — Asked this week by our Matt Henson how they feel about the Jan. 6 commission in Washington D.C., two of three members of North Dakota's congressional delegation derided it as a stunt.

They aren't paying attention, they claim. It hasn't revealed anything new about the deadly, pro-Trump riot.

Which is a dump truck full of malarkey.

"I don't think the general public's frankly all that interested, and quite honestly, they ought to be having hearings about what to with the price of fuel," Sen. Kevin Cramer told Henson, ignoring that the hearings have, at times, drawn an audience that rivals what "Sunday Night Football" enjoys .

Fuel prices are absolutely something Congress should be paying attention to, but so is an attempt by a president to overturn an election.

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We don't have to choose between them.

Cramer claims he hasn't "watched 30 seconds of the Jan. 6 hearings," and that doesn't pass the smell test, given how widely they've been covered. But even if it's true, why would Cramer believe that's a positive reflection on him?

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How can he be sure the Jan. 6 committee is not important if he isn't watching?

Congressman Kelly Armstrong, meanwhile, dismisses the proceedings as too partisan. "I think they are incredibly choreographed," he told Henson.

"When everybody in a congressional hearing has the same fundamental goal and end game to the whole thing, without an opposition party, it tends not to have what a normal congressional hearing would have," he continued.

Armstrong is referring to the fact that Democratic leadership rejected the appointees House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy made to the committee (which included Armstrong himself). While that criticism is apt to a point, there's no question that most Republicans, out of a misbegotten and bewilderingly enduring sense of loyalty to Trump, of the sort Trump himself has never displayed for anyone, never intended to take this inquiry seriously.

They should have.

Even Trump himself has argued that Republicans should have engaged with the process more fulsomely .

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Because this committee, claims from Armstrong and Cramer to the contrary, has revealed startling things. People around Trump, including members of his own cabinet, and his own daughter, knew his election conspiracies were bunk and told him as much.

Trump knew the crowds at the Capitol were armed.

He knew there was a significant risk of violence.

He chose to give his speech and incite his crowd with his false claims of election fraud anyway. He pandered to people who were out to lynch his own vice president, a man Cramer, specifically, claims to respect.

If our congressional delegation isn't paying attention to that, if they're dismissive of these revelations, then they are derelict in their duties to our state, and our country.

The why of what they're doing is rooted in politics. Trumpism is still influential in North Dakota. They imagine their willful ignorance to be the will of the people.

But sometimes leadership means doing the right thing, even if it might be unpopular with voters.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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