Kinzinger: It's 'possible' some GOP colleagues are responsible for Jan. 6 attack

He said the committee isn't ruling out issuing subpoenas to members of Congress.

December 19, 2021, 9:42 AM

Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Sunday "it’s possible" some of his GOP colleagues in Congress are responsible for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol but added he's not ready to "go to that point" yet, because he wants to "let the facts dictate it."

The Illinois Republican also revealed that the committee investigating the insurrection is not ruling out issuing subpoenas for sitting members of Congress.

"Nobody -- member of Congress, former president, nobody -- in America is above the law," Kinzinger told ABC "This Week" co-anchor Jonathan Karl.

Kinzinger, who announced in October he will not seek reelection to Congress, was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump following the events at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and is one of two Republicans serving on the committee. He said the committee would subpoena Trump if they determine it’s necessary.

"Nobody should be above the law, but we also recognize we can get the information without him at this point, and, obviously, when you subpoena the former president, that comes with a whole kind of, you know, circus environment," Kinzinger said. "But if we need him, we'll do it."

Kinzinger and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., on Tuesday night joined Democrats in the House in voting to hold Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, in contempt of Congress. Meadows defied a subpoena to appear for a deposition before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Prior to the vote, members of the committee unveiled text messages sent to Meadows during the attack on the Capitol, reading aloud texts from Republican lawmakers, Fox News personalities and the former president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., that implored Meadows to get Trump to denounce the rioters. Rep Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, was one of the GOP lawmakers whose texts to Meadows were revealed, his office confirmed.

The new messages were part of the approximately 9,000 documents Meadows turned over to the committee, before he reversed course and decided to not cooperate with the investigation. The House previously voted to hold Trump ally Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena by the Jan. 6 committee.

Kinzinger said he’s "not sure" whether Meadows knew how damaging the text messages would be, but emphasized he had no choice given the committee's legal authority.

"I will tell you, yes, there are more texts out there we haven’t released," he added.

During debate on the House floor before the vote, Cheney emphasized the importance of Meadows' testimony. "Mr. Meadows' testimony will bear on another key question before this committee. Did Donald Trump through action or inaction corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress' official proceedings to count electoral votes?" Cheney said.

Karl pressed Kinzinger on the possibility of the Justice Department filing criminal charges based on what the committee finds, given that it is a crime to obstruct the official proceedings of Congress.

"Are you sending a message that the Justice Department should be prosecuting not just those that broke into the building on Jan. 6, but should be prosecuting Donald Trump himself or at least investigating that possibility?" Karl asked.

"I think investigating that possibility, for sure," Kinzinger responded. "Our committee is getting more information than law enforcement agencies and DOJ, because we’ve had the power and the ability to get that done."

"Whatever information we get will be public record, and the DOJ should take a look, particularly if there's criminal charges to be filed, because again, the big thing is as bad as it was on Jan. 6, there's really nothing in place to stop another one from happening again," he added. "If somebody broke the law, it is so essential that we send the message that you are not untouchable as president -- you're not untouchable as a former president."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday in an interview with Spectrum News he looks forward to seeing what the Jan. 6 committee finds in its probe, effectively endorsing the work of the commission after he had opposed its creation. "I think that what they're seeking to find out is something that public needs to know," McConnell said.

"That's not exactly what Kevin McCarthy, the leader over there in the House, is saying," Karl pointed out, alluding to the fact that the two GOP leaders in the House and Senate have juxtaposing views toward the investigation.

"Right," Kinzinger replied, laughing. "Look, I mean -- I got to tell you, so, you know, say what you want about Mitch McConnell. He obviously holds his cards very close. I think that was a very powerful statement and I appreciate it."

Kinzinger, who along with Cheney has faced harsh backlash for sitting on the committee, criticized McCarthy for not doing something similar.

"Kevin McCarthy, on the other hand, has not said a word about anything, except for that Donald Trump is probably the greatest president to ever exist," Kinzinger said. "Kevin McCarthy himself I think made Donald Trump relevant again when two weeks after Jan. 6 or so, he went back down to Mar-a-Lago and brought him back to political life by putting his arm around him and taking that picture and basically sending the signal to the rest of the Republicans that were pretty quiet at this moment, that we got to get back on the Trump train."

"He bears responsibility for that," he added. "I don't think history books are going to be kind to him."

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