(NEW YORK) — One of two Republicans on the House’s Jan. 6 committee said Sunday he believes former President Donald Trump’s actions as described during this month’s public hearings “rise to a level of criminal involvement” in the events around the U.S. Capitol attack.
When asked by anchor George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” if he thinks Trump should be prosecuted, Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger said: “I certainly think the president is guilty of knowing what he did — seditious conspiracy, being involved in these kind of different segments and pressuring the DOJ, Vice President [Mike Pence], etc.,” Kinzinger said.
He continued: “Obviously, you know, we’re not a criminal charges committee. So I want to be careful specifically using that language. But I think what we’re presenting before the American people certainly would rise to a level of criminal involvement by a president and definitely failure of the oath.”
A new ABC News/Ipsos poll released on Sunday showed that 58% of Americans think Trump “bears a good or great amount of responsibility for the events of Jan. 6 and that he should be charged with a crime.” (Trump has repeatedly dismissed the House’s Jan. 6 investigation as politically motivated and one-sided.)
The House select committee was set up to probe what took place surrounding the deadly insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, following Trump’s 2020 presidential election loss and his months-long campaign to overturn that defeat.
In a series of ongoing hearings, the House committee has detailed some of the evidence gathered in its 11-month investigation, including testimony from Trump’s inner circle showing, investigators say, that Trump knew his push to contest the 2020 results and have Pence reject Joe Biden’s victory was baseless — and illegal.
“It is essential at this moment that we get a grip on this and figure out how to defend our democracy,” Kinzinger, a vocal member of the GOP’s anti-Trump minority, said on “This Week.”
“I think this blows, actually, Watergate out of the water,” Kinzinger said of the current moment, blaming the “lack of leadership” for the partisan division. The congressman, who is not running for another term, said his party had “utterly failed the American people at truth. … Makes me sad, but it’s a fact.”
“If you’re not willing to tell people the truth in America, you shouldn’t run for Congress,” he said.
Stephanopoulos also asked Kinzinger about upcoming elections, noting that the next presidential contest could have “a similar controversy.”
“We’re seeing allies of President Trump being elected to run elections in state after state. I’ve already pointed out the divide between Republicans and Democrats over what happened on Jan. 6. How worried are you about 2024?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Very worried,” Kinzinger replied.
“This is the untold thing,” he continued. “We focus so much on what goes on in D.C. and Congress and the Senate, but when you have these election judges that are going to people that don’t believe basically in democracy – authoritarians – 2024 is going to be a mess.”
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