“There’s a lot of people, you know. They come up and say it,” Kinzinger told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” of his Republican colleagues privately signaling support. “It’s not any of the ones that go on TV and spout the ‘Big Lie,’ and then say it. It’s the ones that are staying more quiet that I think appreciate the stand. But it’s a lot.”
And while GOP lawmaker have publicly echoed Trump’s election lies, the Illinois Republican maintained that “nobody actually believes the election was stolen from Donald Trump. But a lot of them are happy to go out and say it was.”
“For all the overheated rhetoric surrounding this committee, our mission is very simple: it’s to find the truth and it’s to ensure accountability,” Kinzinger said during the Tuesday hearing. “Many in my party have treated this as just another partisan fight. It’s toxic and it’s a disservice.”
Kinzinger and Rep. Liz Cheney — the only other Republican lawmaker on the panel — have faced sharp blowback for joining House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s committee after she rejected two of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s choices last week — Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio — which prompted the GOP leader to withdraw all five of his picks.
Asked Wednesday about the legacy of GOP lawmakers who have pushed Trump’s election lies and defended his actions leading up to and on January 6, Kinzinger said: “I think they will be judged by the country. I mean, because ultimately the truth is going to be known.”
“If somebody really thinks that this narrative of January 6 that some are trying to push is actually going to be the one written in the history books — it’s not. It’s just a question of when, is it sooner or later,” he said. “But it’s coming. So I wouldn’t want to be on — the one out there on TV pushing the ‘Big Lie’ and think somebody is going to eventually be proud of what I was doing.”