“I don’t want to go there yet to say, ‘Do I believe he has (committed a crime),’ I think that’s obviously a pretty big thing to say. We want to know though, and I think we’ll — by the end of our investigation and by the time our report is out — have a pretty good idea,” Kinzinger, who represents part of Illinois, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
“We’ll be able to have out on the public record anything (the) Justice Department needs maybe in pursuit of that,” said Kinzinger, who is one of two Republican members of the committee.
He continued: “So look, here’s the thing with the report. January 6 is a very important day. We will get every bit of detail that we can possibly get on that … what I think is almost more important is what led up to January 6? What is the rot in the democracy that allowed the 6th to happen? And have we corrected from that since?”
The bipartisan House committee has been probing the attack on the Capitol earlier this year, including Trump’s involvement in the episode. While still in office, the House impeached Trump for inciting the riot, though he was later acquitted by the Senate in a vote that took place after his tenure ended.
Kinzinger also declined Sunday to confirm or deny an exclusive report from CNN that members of the panel believe former Texas Governor and Trump Energy Secretary Rick Perry was the author of a text message sent to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows the day after the 2020 election pushing an “AGRESSIVE (sic) STRATEGY” for three state legislatures to ignore the will of their voters and deliver their states’ electors to Trump.
“No matter all the numbers of texts that are coming out or what people have been saying and you kind of get a peek into the window of their world,” Kinzinger said. “I think we have to sometimes step back and say, ‘I do believe there are probably some real kind of ‘Did we break the law?’ questions here,’ but even bigger than that, in my mind is what does that say about the future of democracy if we do truly believe in it, or is it all about win at any cost?”
The congressman also said he thought it was important for the public to see the truth after the committee last week released some text messages Meadows received from members of Congress and others.
“We have a trail of Mark Meadows being aware now of what was happening at the Capitol, not just, you know, ‘Maybe I knew. Maybe I watched news’ and everyone may know that that wasn’t true. But you now have proof of it,” Kinzinger said. “People desperately pleading for him to get the President to be involved because the President, for something like 182 minutes, nobody heard from them. Nobody knew what he was up to despite this being all over the news, and we know he watches the news.”