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Transcript: Rep. Adam Kinzinger on "Face the Nation," July 17, 2022

Kinzinger: Next Jan. 6 hearing will "open people's eyes"
Kinzinger says Jan. 6 hearing on Trump’s actions will "open people's eyes in a big way" 11:47

The following is a transcript of an interview with Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois that aired Sunday, July 17, 2022, on "Face the Nation."

MARGARET BRENNAN: Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger will be co-leading that hearing on Thursday. Good morning to you.


MARGARET BRENNAN: So let's start with these Secret Service texts. The agency said this was just a matter of timing and a tech upgrade. Do you believe that? Or was this malicious?

REP. KINZINGER: I think we're gonna know more Tuesday, we made the decision as the committee that we need to subpoena these records. The- the IG came in front of us and said, look, we have been working hard to get this. They claim it was this technological change, 'we moved everything, we lost these texts.' And then they also put out a statement, though, that said, we've only lost some of the texts and everything relevant to this investigation has been turned over. So those are very conflicting statements. So we decided as a committee, let's request these by Tuesday, and we can make a decision. I will say this, in the very least, it is quite crazy that the Secret Service would actually end up deleting anything related to one of the more infamous days in American history, particularly when it comes to the role of the Secret Service.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So the subpoena set Tuesday as the deadline, so has the Secret Service said 'we will meet that deadline, and these texts still do exist somewhere?'

REP. KINZINGER: That's what we've- from what we understand they've said we'll- we'll- we'll meet this deadline, and we'll see what we get here. So either we get--

MARGARET BRENNAN: You don't know that they exist still on record?

REP. KINZINGER: We don't know. So either we get that stuff- if we end up getting the texts, then obviously, for whatever reason, the IG didn't- now you have what you have. If we don't, then it'll call out the Secret Service as having said that they had these texts, and they don't so, you know, Is this anything big? We're not sure. But we need to chase every lead down on this, and there's a question of why are they not cooperating with the IG? The DHS IG, and- and they need to.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So the committee has, though, spoken in the past with some Secret Service officers. So do you have a date yet to question the two in particular, Tony Ornato, about what happened January 6? Of course, he's relevant because of Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony about what happened in the vehicle.

REP. KINZINGER: Look, we're still working on that. We'd love to have him come in. We're- we're working out those details. We know that through, I guess, anonymous sources, they've said they're going to be happy to come in and testify. We would encourage anybody to, anybody that knows anything, but it's got to be under oath. Right now, it's just been discussion from Secret Service through anonymous sources. And that to me, compared to somebody like Cassidy Hutchinson, who swore under oath, what she had heard, that's important to come in and do that. So that's still ongoing, but hopefully we get that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Will you get that by Thursday, and this hearing?

REP. KINZINGER: I highly doubt we'll get them coming in and talking by Thursday. But again, I would love that. But we keep getting new people coming in every day with information willing to go on the record. So it's been amazing how since seeing these hearings have started, the amount of information we're getting has just rapidly accelerated.

MARGARET BRENNAN: CNN was reporting a D.C. police officer who had been somehow involved in the motorcade arrangements, was corroborating the testimony given by Cassidy Hutchinson, that there was an almost violent confrontation with the former president in the vehicle that day. Is that what the committee has been told?

REP. KINZINGER: I can't confirm or deny those because we haven't come out with who we have or haven't spoken to. I'll just say, I'm not going to aggressively push back on that characterization and we have every reason to believe that what Cassidy Hutchinson said, at least from what she said she heard, because she wasn't in the limo never said she was--

MARGARET BRENNAN: She was told this by others.

REP. KINZINGER: She was told this. We fully believe that she is a credible witness and her allegations are quite explosive.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So 187 minutes, you're leading this hearing, you- you know what you can present at this point. Can you at least tell us if you filled in the blanks of you know who the President was actually speaking with? Why there weren't phone records, for example, of phone calls he may have placed during that time period?

REP. KINZINGER: We have filled in the blanks. I can't necessarily say that the motives behind every piece of information we know we'll be able to explain. But this is going to open people's eyes in a big way. The reality is- I'll give you this preview, the president didn't do very much but gleefully watch television during this timeframe. We're going to present a lot more than that, but I could only imagine as- I mean, I knew what I felt like as a US Congressman, if I was a president, sworn to defend the Constitution, that includes the legislative branch, watching this on television, I know I would have been going ballistic to try to save the Capitol. He did quite the opposite. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: The President didn't do anything?

REP. KINZINGER: The President didn't do anything, and we're going to fill those blanks in and if the American people watch this, particularly I say as to my fellow Republicans, watch this with an open mind and is this the kind of strong leader you really think you deserve?

MARGARET BRENNAN: The chairman of the committee, Bennie Thompson, has said you all are still discussing whether to go ahead and try to force a conversation with the former Vice President, Mike Pence, his former chief have a staff Marc Short said on this program, this is very low likelihood of ever happening. Do you personally want to subpoena Mike Pence?

REP. KINZINGER: Look, I personally want to talk to Mike Pence. I think there's a difference between do we subpoena him? Do we ask him for a transcribed interview? I think it would be important to hear everything he has to say. That said, I'm not sure we get a ton more out of him than what his staff has already told us. The big question we're still dealing with as a committee is, is there benefit in talking to somebody like Donald Trump and request- and he come in? That's something we're negotiating back and forth on whether we want to do that, and- and what that looks like?

MARGARET BRENNAN: What is the value in speaking directly to the former president and the vice president, when the former vice president's chief of staff and his legal adviser have testified to you? Why do you need him physically there? And what would the President's testimony do?

REP. KINZINGER: Yeah, and I'm not sure we do need them physically there. Because, again, we're getting a lot of information and I think you'll see after Thursday's hearing, we know a lot. Look, Donald Trump has made it clear that he doesn't mind not telling the truth, let's just put that mildly. He lies all the time, I wouldn't put it past him to even lie under oath. So I'm not sure what the value is there. That's again, something we're- I think the thing to keep in mind is this- this investigation is not winding down. We may be towards the end of this tranche of hearings, we may have more hearings in the future, and the investigation is still ongoing. So we're we're- we're getting to the bottom of what we need to know.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Tranche of hearings, what does that mean? I mean, how many are you thinking? What more do you have?

REP. KINZINGER: Well, we've done- this is- this will be our eighth hearing. This is the end of this kind of grouping. I fully expect when the report comes out, we may have a hearing or two around that. But of course, as you saw with Cassidy Hutchinson, if we get information that the American people need to know, we may end up bringing up more hearings at that time, too.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So I want to ask you about the former Overstock CEO, Patrick Byrne, who spoke I guess, for eight hours behind closed doors with the committee the other day. He said to reporters, 'there is so much interest in the December 18 Oval Office meeting because it all comes down to it. The crux of history comes down to it.' And then his lawyer said, 'stop talking.' What's the rest of the sentence? Exactly what is the crux of history here?

REP. KINZINGER: I don't know. You know, it's hard to get into the mind of somebody like Patrick Byrne, it's hard to get in the mind of somebody like Rudy Giuliani. Is this a grift? Do they really believe some of these conspiracies? But he has been- I- I mean, it seems like Patrick has come to believe that there is some deep state conspiracy to overthrow the government, and or at least have the deep state way of the government. And so I don't know what would have come next in his mind. But I can tell you his- he seems a little unmoored from reality when it comes to politics and when it comes to democracy.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So Mother Jones published audio this week of Steve Bannon, who was speaking to a group of associates in October. I understand this was recorded, about the former president's plan to declare victory. Let's listen to what he said:

STEVE BANNON SOT: What Trump's gonna do is just declare victory. Right? He's gonna declare victory. But that doesn't mean he's a winner. He's just gonna say he's a winner. // That's our strategy in terms of winning. So when you wake up Wednesday morning, it's going to be a firestorm. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: What does that indicate to you? I mean, Steve Bannon speaks sometimes in hyperbolic terms. Does that indicate to you that there was a level of planning going back that far?

REP. KINZINGER: Oh, yeah. I mean, I think, look, if you look at the President's statements, even months prior to the election, he started saying, 'If we lose, it's because it's going to be stolen.' There was- I think it was Chris Stirewalt came in on our second hearing and talked about that idea of- that- the red Mirage, how early in the night, it'll look like Republicans are winning, and then later, it will be the obvious result. I mean, I think Democrats were ahead in Ohio, significantly even, at the beginning of the night. Steve Bannon is an agent of chaos. Steve Bannon, in his own words, believes you have to basically burn the system down to rebuild it and fix it. What he's saying right there is very clearly him saying no matter what, we're declaring victory, and that is a violation of everything we have to hold dear in the Constitution. Listen, the only thing we need for democracy to survive, is the knowledge that you can vote, that that vote counts, and we live with the winner and loser. If half the country believes that that was inaccurate, you can't expect democracy to survive.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about what's going on in Georgia. Your fellow Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, is challenging a subpoena by a grand jury there. They want to ask him questions about this call that he placed to the Secretary of State there around the election. Graham said he's done nothing wrong. Is there a reason the January 6 committee has not spoken to him? Are there questions you have for him?

REP. KINZINGER: Well, look, the question of is there reasons, well, I mean, first off, we have a lot of information in terms of what happened in Georgia. That's a piece of our investigation. We have the whole broader thing of what led to January 6, what's been done since. In terms of him- no, haven't talked- talked to Lindsey Graham personally. That's his decision with the- with the grand jury and a challenge. I'm not sure if his issues of speech and debate, which is what he claims the protection or he was acting in his position as a Senator, I'm not sure if that actually would apply to if you're attempting to change an election outcome. I'm not the lawyer. I don't know. But to me, it seems a little odd that he would try to pull that in front of- in terms of going in front of a grand jury and saying what you know.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Congressman Kinzinger, thank you for coming in. We'll be watching on Thursday.


MARGARET BRENNAN: And CBS News we'll cover that hearing at 8pm Eastern Time Thursday night on our broadcast and streaming networks. Face the Nation will be back in one minute so stay with us.

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