Tuesday, February 27

“Donald Trump is responsible”: Rep. Adam Kinzinger on first televised Jan. 6 committee hearing

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois, says he hopes the Department of Justice charges former President Donald Trump if the evidence reaches the threshold to prove that Trump pushed a 2020 presidential election fraud conspiracy that spurred the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. 

“If the president truly believed the election was stolen, he is not mentally capable of being president because every piece of evidence shown to him, done by anybody that’s serious besides wackos on the internet, said that the election was legitimate,” Kinzinger told “CBS Mornings” on Friday. 

The comments from Kinzinger, who is one of two Republican members of the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot, come following the first of six public hearings of the committee. Over the following weeks, members say they plan on revealing evidence which proves Trump lied about believing that election fraud lost him the election, which in turn stirred up protesters on January 6, 2021. 

“Donald Trump is responsible,” Kinzinger said. “He lit the flame. He summoned the mob.”

In the coming weeks, Kinzinger said the committee will show “how quickly a conspiracy on the internet ends up in [Trump’s] ears and attempted to be implemented.” He said that while members have evidence to show Trump lied, “we want to present it in the right way.”

“He knew that these were lies, but he was desperate for anything he could grasp to stay in power because he can’t lose,” Kinzinger said. “Although he is a loser, he doesn’t want to lose and he’d rather throw out democracy than he would and actually honor it.”

Thursday night’s hearing included never-before-seen footage from the day of the attack, testimony from a Capitol Police officer and a documentary filmmaker who were at the riot and detailed the violence, as well as videotaped testimony from those in Trump’s circle — including his daughter Ivanka Trump.

“History is going to judge this time,” Kinzinger said. “People are picking sides right now of what side of history they want to be judged on.” 

In a statement posted on social media Thursday night, Trump called the select committee members “political hacks” and accused them of not playing “any of the many positive witnesses and statements” during the hearing.

“A one sided, totally partisan, POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!” he wrote.

CBS News has reached out to the former president for comment on Kinzinger’s interview.

Kinzinger said he believes the select committee accomplished its goal on the first hearing of reminding the country “of the truth of what happened.”

“There is a threat to democracy,” he said. “That’s the most important thing, even more than accountability out of this is for the American people to understand that this could still be a problem. Democracy is not safe unless we agree to follow a certain set of standards. I think we did that yesterday and we’re going to drill into that a lot more in the next couple of weeks.”

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