Port: Let’s talk about Kelly Armstrong’s votes on the Adam Schiff censure


Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) listens to Michael Cohen testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 27, 2019. Cohen accused President Donald Trump of an expansive pattern of lies and criminality, offering a damning portrayal of life inside the president’s orbit. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The New York Times)

MINOT, N.D. — There’s a narrative about North Dakota Congressman Kelly Armstrong and the votes to censure his Democratic House colleague Adam Schiff, and, as is often the case in politics, it needs more nuance.

Armstrong voted against the initial censure resolution, which would have fined Schiff $16 million in addition to admonishing him.

In conversations with me, as well as statements made to others in the news media, Armstrong has argued that the fine was unconstitutional — a penalty levied by the government through an extra-judicial and explicitly political process.

Whatever you may feel about Schiff, his politics, and his behavior around the investigations of disgraced former President Donald Trump — there’s plenty to criticize — no American should face a penalty from the government without due process.

Armstrong’s vote earned him much criticism from Trump loyalists, and a seeming rebuke from Trump himself. “Trump calls for North Dakota’s Kelly Armstrong to ‘immediately be primaried’,” the headline from reporter April Baumgarten read, though I think embracing that angle was taking Trump’s bait.

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