Outgoing Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Sunday he was concerned about the nation’s threat if former President Donald Trump is not charged with crimes related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. future, though he believes the Justice Department will “do the right thing”
“If it’s not a crime, I don’t know what is. If the president can incite insurrection and not be held accountable, there’s really no limit to what the president can or can’t do,” the Illinois lawmaker told “State of the Union.” CNN’s Dana Bash.
“I think the Justice Department will do the right thing. I think he will be charged, and I think he should be charged, frankly,” Kinsinger said of Trump. “If he didn’t commit a crime, then frankly, I worry about the future of this country.”
Kinzinger is one of two Republican members of a House select committee investigating the Capitol riot. The panel wrapped up its work last month and presented a case to the Justice Department and the public that there was evidence that charges could be brought against Trump under multiple criminal statutes.
The committee referred Trump to the department on at least four criminal charges: obstructing official process, defrauding the United States, making false statements and aiding or assisting insurrection. The panel also said in its executive summary that it had evidence that it could be charged with conspiracy to injure or obstruct an officer and inciting conspiracy.
In practice, referrals are actually a token measure. It does not require action from the Justice Department, although Jack Smith, the special counsel appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate Trump, has asked the special committee to gather evidence.
“The Republican Party is not the future of this country unless it corrects it,” Kinsinger told Bash, adding that he believed Republican leader Kevin McCarthy was responsible for Trump’s political resurgence after Jan. 6.
“Donald Trump is alive today in politics because of Kevin McCarthy,” he said. “He went to Mar-a-Lago in the weeks after Jan. 6 and resurrected Donald Trump. He’s the reason Donald Trump is still a factor.”
Kinzinger said that while he was “fearful” about American democracy in the short term, he was more hopeful in the long run.
“I’m honored to be at this moment in history and to do the right thing,” said the congressman, who has faced criticism from within his party for his stance on Trump.
The Illinois Republican, who did not seek re-election last year, said he would not do “one thing differently” but would not miss out on entering Congress. While he said it would be “fun” to debate Trump, Kinzinger told Bash he doesn’t plan to run for president in 2024.
Meanwhile, another retiring House Republican expressed optimism about the future of Congress.
“I know who I work with in Congress. There’s a middle class. You rarely see or hear them because, like the middle class, they take their jobs seriously,” Texas’ Kevin Brady said on “Fox Sunday News,” said.
“I think if people can see more of the working class in Congress, you’ll be more confident like I am,” he added.
Brady, the outgoing Republican leader of the House Ways and Means Committee, also said he “hopes” for McCarthy to win the speakership.
“I think Kevin McCarthy knows this meeting very well. He works with people from all fields,” Brady said. “I’m confident he can pull these final votes together.”
With House Republicans holding a narrow majority in the next Congress, McCarthy has struggled to lock in the votes needed to become the next speaker on Tuesday, even after making some major concessions to GOP critics in recent days.
House Republicans will hold a conference call Sunday as McCarthy continues to seek the support of at least 218 lawmakers in an upcoming full-court vote, according to two people familiar with the matter.
This story has been updated with more details.