GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger says a January 6 committee subpoena for Trump would become ‘a circus’ but remains a possibility

Rep. Adam Kinzinger
Rep. Adam Kinzinger on CNN’s ‘SOTU.’ Screenshot via CNN
  • Adam Kinzinger said the January 6 committee does not have plans to subpoena Trump, but still could.
  • Kinzinger defended Biden’s comments on prosecuting individuals who defy the committee’s subpoenas.
  • Kinzinger is a Republican lawmaker on the committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger said the House select committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection could still issue a subpoena to former President Donald Trump as part of its probe but does not want to jump the gun.

Kinzinger, a member of the committee, told CNN on Sunday that “if we subpoena, all of a sudden, the former president, we know that’s going to become kind of a circus, so that’s not necessarily something we want to do up front.”

“But if he has pieces of information we need, we certainly will,” the Illinois Republican added.

Kinzinger is one of two Republican lawmakers on the nine-member committee investigating the chaos of January 6, when crowds of Trump supporters clashed with law enforcement officials and broke into the Capitol building. The violence left five people dead.

Kinzinger, a prominent Trump critic, voted to impeach the former president on a charge of “incitement of insurrection.” He’s also slammed Trump for downplaying the events of the day, calling him an “utter failure.”

The committee has so far issued subpoenas asking for information from a handful of former Trump officials, including one-time White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Following Trump’s instructions, Bannon has refused to comply with his subpoena, citing the former president’s right to keep information confidential through “executive privilege.” The ex-advisor was supposed to show up for a deposition last Thursday but did not.

In response, the committee announced plans to hold Bannon in criminal contempt over his defiance.

“The Select Committee will not tolerate defiance of our subpoenas, so we must move forward with proceedings to refer Mr. Bannon for criminal contempt,” Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the committee, said in a statement on Thursday.

When asked by a reporter last week, President Joe Biden expressed support for the Justice Department to prosecute individuals who defy the January 6 subpoenas, prompting some criticism about the DOJ’s independence.

The White House quickly tried to clarify Biden’s comments. White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted on Friday: “As @potus has said many times, January 6th was one of the darkest days in our democracy. He supports the work of the committee and the independent role of the Department of Justice to make any decisions about prosecutions.”

The DOJ also weighed in, with a spokesperson saying the department “will make its own independent decisions in all prosecutions based solely on the facts and the law.”

Kinzinger on Sunday defended Biden’s remarks, telling CNN that the president “has every right to make it clear where the administration stands.”

“I think it’s appropriate,” Kinzinger said. “I mean, God knows the prior administration every two hours was trying to signal to the Justice Department.”

“The president has made it clear we need answers to this and I think the vast majority of Americans agree,” he added.