The Jan. 6 House committee investigating last year’s Capitol riots would have to negotiate with former President Donald Trump if he were to offer to testify live in response to the panel’s subpoena, Rep. Adam Kinzinger Sunday.
“I think it’s going to be a negotiation,” Kinzinger, R-Ill., a member of the committee, told ABC “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos. “I will only address that once we know for sure if the president has tried to push to come in and talk to us live.”
“He has made it clear that he has nothing to hide, [that’s] what he said. So he had to come in on the day we asked him to come in. If he pushes beyond that, we’ll figure out what to do next,” Kinzinger said.
He dodged Stephanopoulos’ question about whether Trump should be held in criminal contempt if he fails to comply with the subpoena.
“Do you think the Justice Department, if the president refuses, should hold him in criminal contempt?” asked Stephanopoulos.
“It’s a bridge we’re crossing if we’re going to get there,” Kinzinger said, adding, “We’re on a bit of a time limit here. And while we’re wrapping up the investigation, we’re also pursuing new leads and facts.”
Trump has not yet said whether he will comply with the committee’s subpoena, but sent the panel a 14-page letter reiterating his vote-fraud conspiracies.
“We made a decision in front of the American people, not behind closed doors, to begin the process of impeaching the former president,” Kinzinger said on “This Week.” “He’s required by law to come in. And he can poke and prod all he wants.”
Kinzinger’s comments come after the House panel voted Thursday to subpoena Trump — a rare but not unheard of call from a former president — as the committee enters the final months of its investigation into the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, uprising.
Committee members have presented the subpoena as an attempt to hear directly from Trump about what he did and did not do and what he did and did not know about January 6.
Previous committee hearings have detailed how, according to Trump’s former aides and others, he knew there was no legal basis for his plan to stay in power and was aware that his allegations of election fraud in 2020 were baseless, but continued to pressure his supporters to march on the Capitol – even though he knew some of them were armed.
Trump has said the investigation is politically motivated and that he did nothing wrong.
The committee, which is not expected to continue into the next Congress, is in the process of formulating its final report, which will include legislative recommendations on how to stop another insurgency and ensure that elections are certified at the state and federal levels.
On Sunday, Stephanopoulos pressed Kinzinger on whether the committee will make a criminal referral, which would be a notable recommendation but is not required to open an investigation into Trump’s conduct. Kinzinger noted that the government is already looking into the matter.
“It’s not a mandate, but I think … we’ll certainly address that issue and we’ll have more to come up with when we make that decision,” Kinzinger said.
“The Department of Justice seems to be pursuing this pretty hard,” he said.
Asked about the “threat” of how widespread voter denial has become in the Republican Party, despite the lack of evidence, Kinzinger, who is stepping down as a Republican lawmaker in January, said: “I don’t think this is just going to go away organically.”
The public also had the power to push back, he said: “This is going to take the American people to really rise up and make the decision that the truth matters.”