Trump may have committed a crime if he knew what would happen in the Capitol riot, Jan 6 committee member says

Adam Kinzinger
Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger discussed the Jan. 6 commission’s investigation in an interview with NBC News. 
  • He said that the question of what Trump may have known ahead of the riot is crucial. 
  • “Did he know what was coming?,” said Kinzinger of Trump.

The House Jan 6 commission is weighing whether former President Donald Trump is criminally complicit in the Capitol riot, one of its members said on Sunday.

In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, said that one of the key questions of the inquiry is what Trump knew ahead of the riot.

Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the nine-person committee, said: “I think the one thing that if I could wave a magic wand and have more information on, it would certainly be what did the president know about January 6 leading up to January 6.

“And I think what’s important is — it’s the difference between was the president absolutely incompetent or a coward on the sixth when he didn’t do anything, or did he know what was coming?”

“And I think that’s a difference between incompetence with your oath and possibly criminal. That’s where I want to get more information. We do have obviously some, some things leading up to that, but the more information we can get, obviously the better.”

The commission has interviewed hundreds of witnesses and subpoenaed phone records and other documents from Trump aides. 

Trump, according to witnesses, watched the chaos unfold on TV for several hours without intervening.

Only after the urging of his aides and allies, including Fox News’ Sean Hannity and his son Don Jr., Trump intervened to tell his supporters to leave.

Kinzinger’s comment suggest that the committee is probing the possibly reason for Trump’s inaction. 

Rep. Liz Cheney, the other Republican on the committee, previously said that the committee is considering whether Trump’s action on Jan 6 constituted “criminal obstruction” of the Congressional proceeding that day to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election. 

Kinzinger in his interview said that if the inquiry were to wrap up today it would be able to put out “a powerful and substantive narrative” of what happened. He stressed that “we still have more information obviously we want to get.”

Trump delivered an incendiary speech to supporters ahead of the riot, but in his second impeachment trial was acquitted on charges on inciting the riot. 

In recent days, Trump has stepped up his attacks on the inquiry, claiming in a statement Sunday that the probe is an attempt to smear ordinary Trump voters, and pushing a groundless conspiracy theory that FBI instigated the violence.