Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a “never Trump” Republican from Illinois, on Sunday defended President Biden’s calls for the Justice Department to prosecute individuals who defy a subpoena from the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Mr. Kinzinger, who serves on the select committee investigating the riot, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that Mr. Biden had done nothing wrong.
“I think it’s appropriate, the president has every right to signal,” Mr. Kinzinger said. “I think he has every right to make it clear where the administration stands. … It says to everybody else coming before the committee, don’t think that you are going to be able to just kind of walk away, and we’re going to forget about you.”
Last week, Mr. Biden told reporters that any individual that defies subpoenas regarding the investigation should face legal consequences.
“I hope that the committee goes after them and holds them accountable,” the president said.
The comments quickly elicited a firestorm of criticism from Republicans and ethics watchdogs, who argued that Mr. Biden was inappropriately interceding in law enforcement proceedings.
The Justice Department appeared to agree, telling The Washington Times that “it makes its own independent decisions in all prosecutions based solely on the facts and the law. Period. Full stop.”
Mr. Kinzinger took a different view, telling CNN it was nothing compared to the pressure former President Donald Trump exerted on the Justice Department.
“God knows, the prior administration every two hours was trying to signal to the Justice Department,” he said. “That had to do with other pretty horrific things.”
• Jeff Mordock contributed to this report.
Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled the name of Rep. Adam Kinzinger.