Kinzinger says Jan. 6 panel examining whether Trump acted criminally

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) on Sunday said the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is looking into whether then-President Trump acted criminally in connection to the Capitol riots. 

Asked by co-anchor Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” if the congressional panel is examining whether Trump violated a criminal statute with regard to Jan. 6, Kinzinger said “yes, we’re looking.”

He would not, however, say if he believes the former president committed a crime.

“I'm not ready to go there yet. But I sure tell you I have a lot of questions about what the president was up to,” Kinzinger said.

The Illinois Republican, one of the two GOP members on the House panel, said claiming that Trump committed a crime is “obviously a pretty big thing to say."

“We want to know, though,” he added.

“And I think we will, by the end of our investigation and by the time our report is out, have a pretty good idea,” Kinzinger said.

“Nobody, Jake, is above the law. Nobody, not the president. He's not a king. Not former presidents. They aren't former kings. Nobody is above the law. And if the president knowingly allowed what happened on January 6 to happen, and, in fact, was giddy about it, and that violates a criminal statute, he needs to be held accountable for that,” he said.

In his question, Tapper referenced a clip of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the vice chair of the panel and the second Republican member of the group, who appeared to reference the language of a criminal statute.

“Whoever corruptly obstructs, influences or impedes any official proceeding or attempts to do so shall be fined or imprisoned, not more than 20 years, or both,” Cheney said in the clip.

The Jan. 6 select committee has continued its work behind closed doors, interviewing a number of witnesses and pouring over documents various individuals have disclosed to the panel. Earlier this month, Cheney revealed on Twitter that the committee had already met with nearly 300 witnesses.

Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows has become a central figure in the committee’s work. Last week, the House voted to hold their former colleague in contempt of Congress after he refused to sit for a deposition with the panel.

Text messages from Meadows obtained by the committee also rocked Washington, showing Fox News personalities and Donald Trump Jr. pressed the then-chief of staff to have the president intervene during the early hours of the Capitol attack.

Kinzinger on Sunday said the panel will “get every bit of detail that we can possibly get on” Jan. 6.

“I want to hold the people guilty accountable, but I want to make sure this never happens again. Otherwise, January 6 will have been, yes, a failed trial run, but, sometimes, a failed trial run is the best practice to get one that succeeds, a coup that would succeed in toppling our government,” he added.

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