Kinzinger does NOT rule out holding Kevin McCarthy in CONTEMPT for rejecting Capitol riot subpoena


Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger on Sunday did not rule out the possibility of holding House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in contempt for his refusal to comply with the Democrat-led Capitol riot committee’s subpoena.

Kinzinger said McCarthy had ‘no respect for the institution’ of Congress and accused him of seeking only ‘power’ in his ambitions to be House Speaker if Republicans take back the majority in November’s midterms. 

The retiring Illinois lawmaker is one of two Republican members of the House Select Committee Investigating the January 6 Attack on the US Capitol, alongside Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney.

McCarthy is part of a group of five sitting lawmakers subpoenaed by the panel in an unprecedented move over their ties to former President Donald Trump and communications with him leading up to the January 6 insurrection.

CNN State of the Union host Dana Bash asked Kinzinger on Sunday, ‘Are you considering holding the sitting House minority leader in contempt of Congress?’ 

‘You know, that’s — that’s a big deal,’ he began.

‘Obviously, there are things we can do, including whether it’s with ethics or other things. Trust me, every day, we’re talking about what to do when these members – if these members don’t comply with the subpoena. And so we will see.’

However, he added that it ‘says way more’ about [McCarthy] than us if he doesn’t come in.’

‘Because, look, he has information, and we want to talk to him. This is the House that he wants to be the Speaker of, by the way,’ Kinzinger said.

He suggested that McCarthy would be hard-pressed to get the respect of his colleagues in the House if he rejects a subpoena from one of its own committees. 

‘I’m not going to be here next year in Congress, but I guarantee, if he is speaker, there’s going to be people that are like, wait, you didn’t even bother to comply with a subpoena,’ Kinzinger said.

The military veteran announced late last year that he was stepping down from his Illinois House seat.

‘Kevin McCarthy has no respect for the institution anymore, for the process. All he wants to do is be powerful, and it’s not even be powerful through normal means,’ he said.

‘It’s through really kissing up to Donald Trump. I mean, that’s more on him than us.’ 

Earlier this month the committee said it would take the historic step of subpoenaing five sitting lawmakers of its own body including a Congressional leader when it ordered McCarthy along with Reps. Andy Biggs, Jim Jordan, Scott Perry and Mo Brooks to cooperate. 

McCarthy was in communication with President Trump before, during, and after the attack on January 6th’ as well as his White House staff, the committee said in a May 12 press release. 

Audio recordings of McCarthy's private calls with colleagues in the riot's immediate aftermath feature him saying that Trump acknowledged having 'some responsibility' for January 6

Audio recordings of McCarthy’s private calls with colleagues in the riot’s immediate aftermath feature him saying that Trump acknowledged having ‘some responsibility’ for January 6

‘Mr. McCarthy also claimed to have had a discussion with the President in the immediate aftermath of the attack during which President Trump admitted some culpability for the attack,’ the release reads.

McCarthy’s lawyer responded in a letter on Friday that the committee was ‘not exercising a valid or lawful use of Congress’ subpoena power.’ 

A leaked private phone call published by the New York Times earlier this year features McCarthy telling colleagues that he would ask Trump to step aside in the immediate aftermath of the riot. But he was pictured with the ex-president at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida just weeks later.

In one of the tapes McCarthy can be heard saying Trump acknowledged having ‘some responsibility’ for the violence at the Capitol that day. 

Kinzinger’s Sunday interview comes less than two weeks before the panel holds its first in a series of eight televised hearings, beginning June 9. 

Trump had vowed to endorse a primary challenge to the Illinois Republican over his vote to impeach the ex-president over the Capitol riot, and a newly-redrawn map would have pit him against an ally in an nearby district. 

However he did leave the door open to future campaigns for higher office – including potentially the White House.

Cheney, the panel’s vice chair and only other Republican, formally filed for re-election on Thursday – but she faces an uphill battle with nearly the entire House GOP caucus including McCarthy against her.

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Trump was in her home state of Wyoming on Saturday to campaign for Cheney’s Republican primary opponent, attorney Harriet Hageman.


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