Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP, File
- Outgoing GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger said that he fears for the US if Trump is not prosecuted.
- The former member of the January 6 probe said he believes the DOJ will charge Trump.
- “If this is not a crime, I don’t know what is,” Kinzinger said of the evidence he had reviewed.
Outgoing GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger has called on the Justice Department to prosecute former President Donald Trump, saying that if his role in the January 6 Capitol riot is not considered criminal, then “I don’t know what is.”
Kinzinger, who announced in late 2021 that he would not seek re-election in his Illinois district in the 2022 midterms, citing extremism and tribalism in the US political system, is one of two Republicans who sat on the House Select Committee to investigate the Capitol riot.
The committee wrapped up its findings in December, with a bombshell recommendation to prosecute the former president.
In a farewell interview with CNN, broadcast on Sunday, Kinzinger said he believed that the Department of Justice would follow through on the committee’s recommendations to charge Trump on four separate counts: conspiracy to defraud the US, conspiracy to make false statements, obstruction of an official proceeding, and inciting an insurrection.
Kinzinger has long backed criminal charges for Trump, saying in July last year that the committee had “proven” Trump had made unacceptable efforts to remain in power.
Kinzinger told CNN’s Dana Bash that when he first sat down with the committee he didn’t have the legal expertise to say whether Trump had committed a crime.
But after seeing the wealth of evidence the committee pulled together, he said: “I’m like, ‘yeah, if this is not a crime, I don’t know what is.’
“If a president can incite an insurrection and not be held accountable, then really there’s no limit to what a president can do or can’t do,” he continued.
Kinzinger said he believed that the DOJ will prosecute Trump, and if it didn’t there could be long-term repercussions.
“If he is not guilty of a crime, then I frankly fear for the future of this country,” he said.
“Because now, every future president can say ‘hey, here’s the bar,’ and the bar is: do everything you can to stay in power,” he added.
Kinzinger also warned that the US cannot be complacent in its political system: “There have to be uncomfortable alliances to defend democracy,” he said, a likely reference to his own stance in joining the January 6 committee, despite his political allegiance.
Asked by CNN if he was sad to be leaving Congress, Kinzinger said: “I’m not going to miss the job.”
But, he added: “It’s been a heck of a ride.”