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An otherwise productive hearing on Capitol attack ruined by presence of Cruz and Hawley | COMMENTARY

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs & Senate Rules and Administration joint hearing on Capitol Hill, Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, to examine the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs & Senate Rules and Administration joint hearing on Capitol Hill, Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, to examine the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool) (Andrew Harnik/AP)

As a media critic, I have developed a pretty high tolerance for hypocrisy. But not when seeing Republican Sens. Ted Cruz, of Texas, and Josh Hawley, of Missouri, Tuesday questioning law enforcement authorities about Capitol security and choices they made before and during an insurrection — an attack that was fueled by a lie that the two senators helped spread. That was too much for me.

I, and I hope millions of others, will never forget how their outrageous challenge to President Joe Biden’s victory helped instigate the violence on Jan. 6, as much as they might sit in a Senate and House joint hearing now and act like they are responsible legislators, not the chief perpetrators of former President Trump’s big lie that he won the November election.

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I have been looking forward to these hearings chaired by Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar since they were announced. There are so many unanswered questions about that insurrection, and Tuesday’s Joint Oversight Hearing on Security Failures During the Attack on the U.S. Capitol started to try and answer some of them. Progress was made on getting answers from the former sergeants-at-arms for the House and Senate and the former chief of Capitol Police on why they did not heed F.B.I. warnings about a possible attack earlier in the week of Jan. 6 and why it took so long for them to seek help as they lost control of the Capitol. The conflicting testimony about who saw what intelligence warnings and when is troubling. Somebody looks to be lying, and Ms. Klobuchar promised follow-up in future hearings.

Mr. Cruz mainly behaved himself. How could he not be on his best behavior after the debacle of getting caught on social media fleeing to the Ritz-Carlton in Cancun, Mexico last week as millions of his constituents in Texas braved subzero weather without electricity, heat or water?

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Mr. Hawley, meanwhile, tried to attack Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s choice of Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré to also investigate the attack on the Capitol. Mr. Hawley was critical of remarks from Mr. Honoré suggesting that there might have been “some complicity on behalf of the Capitol police” in the takeover of the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“This person has no business leading any security review related to events of Jan. 6,” Mr. Hawley said.

As if Mr. Hawley has the moral authority to judge who is or isn’t fit for any such a position.

David Zurawik is The Baltimore Sun’s media critic. Email: david.zurawik@baltsun.com; Twitter: @davidzurawik

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