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Malloy: Jan. 6 panel comes up short

by CHUCK MALLOY
| July 4, 2022 9:47 AM

In case you haven’t seen enough of the congressional committee investigation of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, and the role that President Trump played, stay tuned. There’s more to come.

Idaho Congressman Russ Fulcher says the GOP soon will have its version of what happened on Jan. 6, along with analyses of what the House committee missed in its investigation.

Fulcher, for one, isn’t impressed – either with the committee’s work, or the Republican response.

“I don’t have a tremendous amount of confidence in one-sided anything, and that goes for the one-sided GOP response, too,” he told me. “The Republican response is going to be as one-sided as what’s going on now.”

What’s going on, essentially, is the third impeachment of Donald Trump – filled with testimony from Republicans and former White House staffers about the president’s role in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 and his efforts to change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

“I’m sure the testimony is compelling, otherwise they wouldn’t have it,” Fulcher said. “But when you have an investigation, in which the function of the rules is to consider one side, then I don’t care what it is – pro-Trump, or anti-Trump – it doesn’t carry weight with me.”

Fulcher is hardly a neutral observer. He was one of the few Republicans who, in the wake of the Capitol riot, voted against certifying the results of the presidential election. He was a staunch supporter of Trump, and continues to think his policies were on the right track.

But Fulcher acknowledged that Trump has his personal flaws.

“Donald Trump is not, and has never been a Boy Scout,” Fulcher said. “He’s incredibly good at what he does, and he’s one of these people who walks into a room with the middle finger extended. You get what you get … I know who he is. But if the policies he espoused were in place today, you and I wouldn’t be talking about these other issues.”

Mainly, high gas prices and inflation – the cornerstone of the GOP’s campaign in the mid-term elections.

“That’s what’s killing people,” he said. “I spoke to a group of about 3,000 people the other day and did some milling around. I’d say 75 percent of those I talked to talked about gas prices and inflation and maybe 20 or 30 percent talked about guns. I believe there was one person who talked about Jan. 6. It’s just not on people’s minds on a major scale.”

Fulcher says Idaho’s four congressional offices are not getting many letters or comments about the Jan. 6 hearings. Editorial writers and commentators are paying attention, of course. Whether it moves the needle on public opinion, or has impact in future elections, is another question.

Politically, as Fulcher sees it, the hearings are a convenient diversion from the “failed policies” that led to high gas prices and inflation. Fulcher thinks Republicans soon will be in charge as the majority party.

“The Democrats know it. That’s why some 35 Democratic members are not running for re-election,” Fulcher says. “One of my Democratic colleagues told me that he hopes, when we get the majority, that we will start producing some fuel.”

There are many reasons for high gas prices, including Russia’s war on Ukraine and the dynamics of supply and demand. As with other Republicans, Fulcher pins much of the blame on President Biden.

“Within days of taking office, you had the president of the United States saying no to drilling on public lands or water – no new permits. And you discourage financing for fossil fuel projects through the treasury. Then you put a stop to the largest pipeline that’s under construction,” Fulcher said.

“Those actions produced a chilling effect throughout the industry,” he said. “I’m not surprised at all about the jump in profits. Profits are going up, because companies are not re-investing,” he said.

For certain, everyone (including Fulcher) wants to be paying less at the pump. But as gas prices continue to climb, so do the prospects for Republicans in the mid-term elections.

ctmalloy@outlook. Chuck Malloy is a long-time Idaho journalist and columnist. He may be reached at ctmalloy@outlook.com

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