Adam Kinzinger January 6 Donald Trump and Kevin McCarthy

WAdam Kinzinger came to Congress in 2011, and the 32-year-old Air Force vet was considered a rising star in the Republican Party. Today he is persona non grata within his party. The Illinois representative, among the few House Republicans who have been highly critical of former President Donald Trump, is one of only two on the House committee to investigate the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Over the course of eight public hearings this summer, the January 6 Commission painted a devastating picture Trump’s attempts to nullify the 2020 election, leading several former federal prosecutors to say the former president is at greater risk of criminal prosecution than ever before. The commission plans to continue its investigation and will hold at least two new hearings in September, at which time it will issue its initial report sharing its recommendations on how to prevent a similar event from happening in the future.

Meanwhile, Kinzinger says, commission members will keep their work in front of the public by releasing videos of testimonies that were not shown at the hearings. painting One such video was released On Monday, he showed how, the day after the attack, Trump declined the Justice Department’s call to bring charges against those who stormed the Capitol.

In an interview with TIME, Kinzinger – who is not running for re-election – discusses what he thinks the committee has already accomplished and where it will go from here. These excerpts from the interview have been edited and condensed for clarity.

Do you think the sessions so far have been successful?

I think the hearings were more successful than I could have hoped, let alone fantasized. When you get into this, you underestimate what people don’t know. The assumption is that everyone knows all the details, or most of them, and can put the story together. But when we explained not only what happened on January 6, but what led to January 6, it opened the eyes of a lot of people. Obviously the production side of it was done in a way that I think made it understandable and brought it to life.

Some people said they believed the hearings hurt Trump politically. do you agree? Was this one of the goals of the committee?

This was not a goal. To be honest with you, when this all started, I didn’t think there was a chance for him to come back again anyway. I have a different point of view now. But I think it hurt him. That doesn’t mean he can’t be the Republican nominee in 2024 – it doesn’t mean he can’t win. But you can only see by his reaction. One of my old email addresses is logged into his press releases, and it sends out like 30 panicked press releases a day.

The committee’s goal was really just to get to the answers. We needed to make this information public, as well as any legislative recommendations. But we also discovered what I think were various criminal acts, and I think the Department of Justice took care of that, even though that wasn’t our intent.

Do you think the commission should make a criminal referral to the Ministry of Justice? And if so, what charges do you think would be justified?

I think we need to finish our investigation before we start doing that. The only thing we don’t want to do is make a criminal referral while we’re still collecting information. Criminal referral is kind of a sideshow, but I think it would have an important point. In terms of what the charges are, I leave that to the prosecutors who understand the justice system much better than I do. But I can say this on a general level: If we get to a point where the coup attempt, even if it fails, is not criminal – or there are people who can shoot it and not fear reprisal – that is a concern for this country.

I’m somewhat concerned that we don’t want to get into this habit of suing previous administrations because that turns us into a banana republic. But this is a very different situation. If there is a crime, and it has not been prosecuted, that sends a much worse message.

Read more: How Benny Thompson and Liz Cheney turned their January 6 hearings into a must-watch TV.

If it gets to a point where we don’t want politics to look bad, we’re worried about civil unrest, all it has done is signal that the president can do everything in his power to stay in power. If he succeeds, he is still in power. If not, then no big deal. Issuance of an indictment creates a greater potential for violence or civil unrest. But in the long run, not being indicted creates much higher potential for a failed democracy.

What more should the commission do with its investigation before public hearings resume in September?

In the lead-up to the hearings, the investigative team was very busy with interviews, following up on leads, and gathering evidence. This will continue in August. We’ll start focusing on writing this initial report, but we’ll continue to hunt down any evidence. We still have some questions with the Secret Service, for example. We can walk and chew gum.

Could you have more sessions before then?

It would really be if we had another Cassidy Hutchison type attitude. I think we’ll be able to have a hearing very quickly. I think it will really depend on whether there is something that we think is compelling to put before the American people right away in the form of a hearing.

I understand that there will be an interim report in September, and then there will be a final report on the line. What will be in the interim report that is not presented at the hearings?

There will be a lot of evidence from what has been presented. We basically have two hours per session. What we present is, in essence, the top line, or perhaps some of the most compelling evidence. But there is more. We’ll also talk about security-related recommendations. The far right is clearly using the security situation as an excuse – and that’s crazy. It’s the equivalent of blaming a home invasion victim for not having a security system.

Representative Luria tweeted a new video Monday of witness testimony showing how Trump crossed a line in statements prepared for January 7, calling on the Justice Department to prosecute those who stormed the Capitol. Is this something the commission will do more during the break, by releasing new testimonial videos?

This is a fair expectation. We have noticed that these videos are getting a lot of attention. We will not be silent during August, even if we are not necessarily in the capital

Do you think that what the commission revealed will harm the Republicans’ chances in the midterm elections?

I think it will have a marginal effect, but I don’t think the 2022 election will be the January 6 election. This is what people have to consider: getting the answers and keeping democracy is not always the highest in people’s political minds when you have inflation, war, high energy prices, etc.

Read more: What Trump knows.

Where I think there could be a very big impact in 2024. It could be a situation that by 2024, if Trump catches fire, people see for what he is – which I think will happen at some point – could have a huge impact. I really think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in five or 10 years who would admit to supporting Donald Trump.

You’ve had quite a bit of a rift with Kevin McCarthy. You have been very critical of his submission to Trump. If Republicans control the House, as many expect, who do you think should be the Speaker of the House?

I don’t know. Plus, if I had an idea and said, that person would probably never have been a speaker. But I don’t think it should be Kevin. Obviously, I wouldn’t vote for that.

Most, if not all, Republicans in Congress know that the election was not stolen. Next year, though, you’re going to have a lot of people who really believe the election was stolen. This is a completely different animal. The reason I particularly disdain Kevin McCarthy is because he was a friend, and he obviously knows better. He is in a position to make a tremendous impact on what this country will look like and what the party will look like. He squandered it for his own political gain. So yeah, I don’t think he should be the speaker. I also think that if the Republican majority weren’t huge, it would be fun to watch. I think there’s a good chance he won’t become a speaker. I think someone is going to stab him in the back. Live by the sword, my friend, die by the sword.

Do you think he inadvertently did the committee a favor by withdrawing all of his options after Pelosi rejected Jim Banks and Jim Jordan?

Oh yes. You will not see a fraction of what you see in these hearings. You will see the opposition throw the keys in everything. Each summon command would be a huge battle. Every disdain vote, a huge battle. And you’ll see something, I think, more like how Benghazi fell. I think he may have withdrawn his members at Trump’s request. It’s so funny now that Trump blames him for withdrawing his members. Well, thanks Kevin.

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