Washington — Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a member of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, said Sunday that the panel’s next hearing will “open people’s eyes in a big way,” when lawmakers detail what former President Donald Trump was doing while the mob of his supporters violently breached the Capitol.
In an interview with “Face the Nation,” Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, said the committee has “filled in the blanks” of what Trump was doing at the White House in the 187 minutes from when his backers descended upon the Capitol building to when he issued his first public response to the attack.
“I can’t necessarily say that the motives behind every piece of information we know we’ll be able to explain, but this is going to open people’s eyes in a big way,” Kinzinger said. “The reality is, I’ll give you this preview, the president didn’t do very much but gleefully watch television during this time frame.”
Kinzinger urged the American people, and his Republican colleagues in particular, to “watch this with an open mind” and ask, “Is this the kind of strong leader you really think you deserve?”
“I knew what I felt like as a U.S. congressman,” he said. “If I was a president sworn to defend the Constitution, that includes the legislative branch, watching this on television, I know I would’ve been going ballistic to try to save the Capitol. He did quite the opposite. The president didn’t do anything.”
The next hearing from the select committee is set to take place during primetime Thursday, and Kinzinger and Rep. Elaine Luria, a Democrat from Virginia, will take leading roles. The hearing will be the panel’s eighth, and Kinzinger said the committee may hold more when it issues its final report.
He noted, though, the select committee could schedule further hearings if its members get information they feel must be shared with the public.
House investigators have also continued to meet behind closed doors with witnesses, includingearlier this month and former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne on Friday. Byrne, an ally of Trump’s, was among attendees of a Dec. 18 meeting at the White House that was
Kinzinger said the committee is still discussing whether to subpoena former Vice President Mike Pence for testimony — he said he personally would like to — as well as whether there is a benefit to requesting Trump himself appear before investigators.
“I’m not sure we do need them physically there because we’re getting a lot of information,” he said. “Donald Trump has made it clear that he doesn’t mind not telling the truth, let’s just put that mildly. He lies all the time. I wouldn’t put it past him to lie under oath, so I’m not sure what the value is there.”
As part of its continuing probe, the committee on Thursdayto the U.S. Secret Service for text messages pertaining to the events of Jan. 6 after the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general told lawmakers from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6. Inspector General Joseph Cuffari told congressional committees that his office was notified the messages were erased as part of a “device replacement program,” though the deletions came after the watchdog requested the messages as part of an investigation into the Secret Service’s response to the Capitol assault.
Kinzinger said the agency has indicated it will meet a Tuesday deadline to comply with the subpoena but said it’s unclear whether the messages still exist.
“It’s quite crazy that the Secret Service would actually end up deleting anything related to one of the more infamous days in American history, particularly when it comes to the role of the Secret Service,” he said.