In a courageous move, North Carolina Republican Representative Walter Jones has joined Democrats in co-sponsoring legislation to require an independent bipartisan commission to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

Even in the wake of firing his former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, for behavior related to communications with Russian officials, Donald Trump continues to dismiss the alarming evidence of his team’s ties with the Russian government as “fake” or a “ruse.”

While Trump’s attitude may not be surprising, what is puzzling is why the vast majority of Republican Party leadership continues to appear unconcerned about Russia’s assault on United States sovereignty and our national security, and to refuse to support an independent investigation into these breaches.

In early January, Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA), the senior Democrat overseeing the Central Intelligence Agency on the House Intelligence Committee, and Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, introduced H.R. 356, titled the ‘‘Protecting Our Democracy Act,’’ which every Democratic representative has signed on to cosponsor.

However, despite the implications for national security, no Republican representatives had previously signed on to express support. But now one of them has stepped up: North Carolina Representative Walter Jones, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, has signed on to the bill.

GOP Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) have previously been vocal about their concerns over Russia’s interference and even called for an independent commission. But Jones is the first Republican from the House to support a call for an independent commission to investigate the situation.

Swalwell and Cummings issued a joint statement to praise Jones for joining the Democrats:

“Walter Jones deserves credit for being the first House Republican – but hopefully not the last – to acknowledge that our nation deserves an independent, bipartisan investigation into Russia’s hacking of our democracy in last year’s election,” said Swalwell, the Ranking Member of the CIA Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. “Congressman Jones is brave enough to do the right thing. We expect more will follow in his patriotic footsteps and demand a commission that can fully examine the circumstances, inform the public of its findings, and develop a plan to prevent this from ever happening again.”

“We thank Rep. Jones for joining in our effort to establish a bipartisan independent commission to get to the truth about these attacks and to make recommendations to help prevent this from happening again,” said Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “We are hopeful that more Republicans will join our cause.”

Cummings has described the investigatory body they are seeking to establish as “a 9/11 style commission”:

Former Acting Director of the CIA Michael Morell, who served as President George W. Bush’s CIA briefer and was with Bush on 9/11, previously described Russian involvement in the election as “the political equivalent of 9/11.”

Anyone who has a sincere interest in the national security and sovereignty of the United States should be committed to gathering as much information about Russia’s involvement as possible, as the integrity of future elections in the United States may well depend on it.

So the questions remain: Why are no other Republicans supporting the call for an independent investigation? Where is GOP concern for national sovereignty and security? How can any politician who is unconcerned about Russia’s violation of our electoral and political infrastructure dare to consider themselves a patriot?

In response to these questions, the silence of Republicans is the elephant in the room of American politics.