Former President Donald Trump’s aides and allies will eventually be compelled to testify before the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 incidents at the Capitol, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., one of the two Republicans on the committee, said Monday.
“It’s my impression and intention — and the committee’s intention — that they will be compelled,” Kinzinger, who serves on the almost-exclusively Democrat committee with Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“There’s some little back and forth between the lawyers right now, but if it gets to a point where they’re stonewalling or not serious, there are contempt things to file,” Kinzinger added. “You can do it through Congress. You can do it through the Department of Justice.”
Trump has invoked executive privilege after his former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, deputy communications Chief of Staff Dan Scavino, former Defense Department official Kash Patel, and ex-associate and adviser Steve Bannon were subpoenaed to supply documents and emails to the panel.
Their refusals could lead to the committee seeking criminal contempt charges, Kinzinger said Monday.
“This is a serious moment,” he said. “We have to get to the answers.”
Kinzinger acknowledged, “it’s going to sound cheesy,” but at the end of the day, he just wants to know the truth about Jan. 6.
“I want to know who was behind it, who knew what, whether that person is in the House of Representatives or not,” Kinzinger said.
He added, “I think we need a full accounting. I look at this as saying you know, whether or not this generation, whether or not the current iteration of the Republican Party even wants to have any idea of what the truth is, the fact is, history books someday are going to write about Jan. 6, and I think the work the committee is doing will be a significant part of what those history books say.”
There will be a time, Kinzinger said, when people “wake up from this Donald Trump buzz, hangover, or whatever drunken thing is going on” and realize that getting to the truth is important.
“At the moment, we’re in a tough place, but that actually just makes me all the more determined to get to the answers,” Kinzinger said. But for that to happen, leaders have to “stand up and tell people the truth. If you don’t trust the leaders and you don’t trust anything and you’re inundated with sources of information, you’re going to look at somebody who stands in front of you and talks.”
Meanwhile, Kinzinger said he is still a “Republican at heart,” despite his criticisms of Trump.
“If you ever look at the Twitter out there and you vote like a Republican and people [say they] are horrified, ‘we thought you were different.’ No, actually, I’m a Republican,” Kinzinger reiterated. “I’m a real one. I might be only one of two left.”
But Kinzinger said he fears, “until we unplug from this stupid matrix we’re in that says you have to be part of this Democratic Party or this Republican Party, if you don’t like Joe Biden, then you must like Donald Trump,” the divisions will continue.
“The problem is that matrix fuels anger and raises money, and we’ve learned as politicians, particularly as Republicans, that if you send somebody fear, if you fear for your life, I can get you to part with anything,” Kinzinger said. “We go out and brag about raising money on the backing of those that are scared to death. That’s a problem. It’s going to take waking up to this.”