Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said fellow Republicans should tread carefully about downplaying the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol because “people are going to know the truth” about the day’s events, even if it takes a year or two, from congressional probes and federal prosecutions of the rioters who were inspired by former President Donald Trump.
“All the information will come out. There’s this narrative that it wasn’t an armed insurrection. Well, it was. There’s guns. You know, there were arms. And all of that stuff will come out,” Mr. Kinzinger, who voted to impeach Mr. Trump over his role in the run-up to the attack, told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“So, if I’m a Republican member of Congress or any leader right now, I’d be very careful of the sides I’m taking because in the very near future people are going to know the truth and I want to be on the side of truth,” he said.
House Democrats pushed through a vote in June that establishes a committee to investigate the attack.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, will have the option to consult with Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the appointment of five out of 13 members, but Mrs. Pelosi will have veto authority over Republican nominees.
Mr. Kinzinger said both parties must navigate perils.
Democrats must avoid a circus and should only subpoena Mr. Trump if they need to, since it could turn into a spectacle. GOP leaders, meanwhile, might need to explain their behavior leading up to the day, and what they did during the riot.
“If I was Kevin McCarthy, I would be very fearful of the January 6 committee. If I’m a Democrat on the committee, I would be very intent on making sure that this is by the books and doesn’t turn political because there’s enough information that’s going to come out,” he said. “We want to know all these details. Why didn’t the president call the [National] Guard? Where was Kevin? What conversations did Kevin have? What members were involved? And I think we’ll get to those answers.”
Mr. Kinzinger, a U.S. Air Force veteran, has said he knew his impeachment vote could be fatal to his political career, as loyalty to Mr. Trump becomes a litmus test within the GOP.
He said Republicans will have to decide whether fealty to one person should be the driving force of the party. He pointed to the fate of former Vice President Mike Pence, who faced the president’s wrath for refusing to delay certification of the election results on the day of the Capitol breach.
“Mike Pence was one of the most faithful people to Donald Trump. But if you ever turn an ounce against Donald Trump, you’re out of the tribe,” he said. “And so, to all of my colleagues in politics, let me say this to you. You either have to be a zombie for the MAGA belief system, whatever that is today or tomorrow — it varies every day based on Donald Trump‘s whims — or actually stand up and tell your constituents the truth.
“So that’s the moment we’re in — just this kind of chaotic, people scared to do anything, scared of their own shadow, absolutely desperate to get re-elected,” he said.