Kinzinger says he fears 'for the future of this country' if Trump is not indicted

 January 2, 2023

In a farewell interview with CNN, January 6th committee member Adam Kinzinger (R-Il.) said he fears for the future of American "democracy" if former President Trump is not prosecuted for "insurrection."

The interview comes as Kinzinger is preparing to leave Congress on Tuesday along with Liz Cheney (R-Wy.), the only other token Republican to serve on the committee.

Kinzinger weighs in on Trump

The committee has now disbanded, but not without handing off its work to the Biden Justice Department to continue investigating Trump, who is Biden's chief political rival and, since November, a presidential candidate.

No American president has ever been charged with a crime. While many argue it would divide the country to break that precedent, Kinzinger said that not indicting Trump would be more dangerous for "democracy" than the alternative.

“I look at that and go, if he is not guilty of a crime, I frankly fear for the future of this country because now every future president can say, hey, here is the bar. The bar is do everything you can to stay in power.”

Kinzinger said he initially suspended judgment on whether Trump broke the law, but he no longer has any doubts -- and he believes the Biden Justice Department will do "the right thing."

"As we got into this, I’m like, if this is not a crime, I don’t know what is. If a president can incite an insurrection and not be held accountable, there’s no limit to what a president can or can’t do."

Where's the evidence?

Despite Kinzinger's confident assertions, no evidence has yet emerged showing that Trump had any direct role in causing the "insurrection," including in the committee's ponderous report, released in late December.

The report, as the committee has long done, instead draws broad connections between the riot and Trump's passionate rhetoric about the 2020 election.

Prosecuting a former president on such shaky ground raises obvious First Amendment concerns, as even some liberals have admitted.

Blind spot

But in a tweet, Kinzinger insisted that Trump's "time will come" after the committee withdrew its subpoena for Trump before disbanding.

While calling for Trump's imprisonment, Kinzinger has vocally defended Ray Epps, the mysterious man who was seen exhorting protesters to go into the Capitol prior to the riot, and even whispering to one of the rioters moments before the unrest began. Epps has never been charged with a crime.

In a newly released interview transcript, Epps told the committee he had no ties to federal law enforcement and that a text saying he "orchestrated" the riot was not what it seemed, explanations Kinzinger is apparently satisfied to accept at face value.

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