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Outside of when he commits hilarious self-owns, I try to pay as little attention as possible to the fantastical claims Rep. Adam Kinzinger makes while auditioning for permanent spots on the left’s favorite cable news networks, because limelight – whether it be the bad kind or the good kind – is exactly what Kinzinger wants every time he opens his mouth.
But some claims are wild enough to call out, because Kinzinger’s developed a bad habit of letting his mouth overload his circuits, and he’s gotten even worse in the aftermath of the Capitol riots.
As evidence, the so-called “Republican” Congressman from Illinois recently sat down for a glowing one on one with the New York Times about his supposed role in speaking Truth to Power about the events of January 6th. In the piece, Kinzinger just about pulled a muscle in his shoulder reaching over to pat himself on the back so many times. For example:
“I made the decision early in my career that I would be willing to take a potentially career-ending vote,” says Kinzinger, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the attempted insurrection. “But I thought that vote would be for something like a Social Security reform bill. I never thought it would be for defending democracy.”
Yeah, that’s the kind of “interview” it was.
But back to the serious claim he made, Kinzinger was prodded by reporter David Marchese into saying he had “suspicions” that some of his fellow GOP members of Congress knew the riots were going to happen in advance:
NYT: Do you suspect that some members of Congress were aware of what was going to happen that day and supported it?
Kinzinger: I won’t name names, but yes, I do have that suspicion. I will say, if you just looked at Twitter — the whole reason I brought my gun and kept my staff home and told my wife to stay in the apartment was looking at Twitter. I saw the threats. When Lauren Boebert — I will call her out by name — tweeted “Today is 1776,” I don’t know what that meant other than this is the time for revolution. Maybe it was a dumb tweet that she didn’t mean. Fine. I’ll give her that credit for now. But if you have members of Congress who were involved in nurturing an insurrection, heck yeah, we need to know.
Isn’t that sweet of him? He drops the name of a Congressional colleague, basically accusing her of aiding and abetting a conspiracy to overturn a presidential election, and then two seconds later he acts generous by suggesting he’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. Such a magnanimous guy, isn’t he?
Let’s break this down. Kinzinger has no evidence whatsoever to support such an explosive charge about another member of Congress. None. If he did, we would have seen it by now. In fact, considering the depth so far of the federal investigations into the Capitol riots, I suspect at this stage 6 months out if a sitting member of Congress had advance knowledge of events we’d know that by now, too.
The reality is that what Kinzinger claimed is extremely unlikely. As my colleague Bonchie noted in a prior post, what we’ve learned about what happened on January 6th over the last several months makes it increasingly look like the breach, which was absolutely unacceptable and never should have happened, was likely a spontaneous reaction by a small mob of conservatives rather than some grand, calculated plot that took months of planning and organizing. We may learn differently in the coming months, but the available information out there just doesn’t support the allegation that this was a premeditated attack, in my opinion.
What Kinzinger is doing here is throwing catnip out there for the press to lap up because he loves the spotlight and needs to feel as though he’s still relevant, especially after he was passed over for a spot on the Capitol riots commission being organized by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The truth of the matter is that there’s more evidence to back up my suspicions that Adam Kinzinger is an attention-seeking weasel than there is evidence of any alleged “advance knowledge” by members of Congress.
Kinzinger made a very dangerous claim in that interview. It’s dangerous enough that he needs to start flashing some receipts if he has them – because while claiming a politician “incited” a Jan. 6th-style is serious enough, claiming they actually took part in planning it is much worse, and shouldn’t be alleged without some cold, hard proof.
In short, regarding the allegation members of Congress knew in advance what would happen, Kinzinger needs to put up or shut up. It’s just that simple.