Transcript: Representative Adam Kinzinger on "Face the Nation," February 13, 2022
The following is a transcript of an interview with GOP Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois that aired Sunday, February 13, 2022, on "Face the Nation."
MARGARET BRENNAN: And we're back with Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who is one of two Republican members on the committee investigating the Jan. 6th insurrection. Good morning to you, congressman.
REPRESENTATIVE ADAM KINZINGER: Good morning.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to start on what is happening most immediately between Russia and Ukraine. You have these massive Russian military exercises. How do you assess the Biden Administration's handling of the situation so far?
REP. KINZINGER: Yeah, look, I'm on- I'm on Team America. Team Ukraine. There are some nuances I would have done different than the Biden administration, but I think now's the time to- to stand unified. And what I'd say is they have done a good job, particularly in bringing out intel early to try to defang any Russian narrative that could come with Ukraine. We know about the discussion of a false flag attack. Well, now we've made it clear that Russia may do that. And and so I think a lot of that is good. One thing I will add, though, is we have to shut down Nord Stream Two regardless of what happens in Ukraine because Ukraine is using energy as a weapon. And I think that's important to do.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Russia is using energy as a weapon--
REP. KINZINGER: Yes, that's what I mean-
MARGARET BRENNAN: -- that's what you mean.
REP. KINZINGER: Yes Russia.
MARGARET BRENNAN: On Russia, generally, you know, there had been for so long bipartisan support for standing up to Russia and standing up for democracies. But there is this interesting trend within the conservative movement right now. You have more Trump oriented parts of the party, like- like Senator Josh Hawley, who recently called on President Biden to rule out admitting Ukraine into NATO. You have similar sentiment- sentiments elsewhere. What is happening here? I mean, how significant a portion of the Republican Party is moving in this direction.
REP. KINZINGER: Well, I don't think it's a huge portion, but it's way too big and it's growing and it's a huge concern. I mean, what was this five years ago? It might be like somebody like Rand Paul that would say something or Dana Rohrabacher. Now there's a significant number of folks doing it with Tucker Carlson talking about, you know, how great Vladimir Putin is and how Ukraine is really actually part of Russia. I think it's a couple of things. Number one, it could be some naivete on foreign policy, not in Tucker's case. I think it's an affection for authoritarianism. And I think Vladimir Putin has done a decent job of engaging in culture battles and culture war, and he is seen as the person defending, in essence, the culture of the past. And so it's very frightening. And by the way, you know, Ukraine is not sure. Already, one third of the country of Georgia is occupied by Russia. Nobody's going to stop them from going into the rest of that. Then you have the Baltics, you have the Balkans that they're interfering in. This is a frightening moment, and any Republican that has affection for Vladimir Putin has no understanding of what our party stands for or what out country stands for.
MARGARET BRENNAN: When it comes to what your party stands for. You are on that Jan. 6th committee, as we mentioned, Rudy Giuliani, the president's attorney, former attorney, is apparently speaking to the committee in some form. Is he being cooperative at this point? What can you tell us about that?
REP. KINZINGER: Well, what I can tell you is he's been subpoenaed, our expectation is he is going to cooperate because that's the law, that's the requirement, same as if somebody subpoenaed to court. There may be some changes and dates and moments here as, you know, lawyers do their back and forth. But we fully expect that in accordance with the law. We'll hear from Rudy. But look, regardless of when we hear from Rudy or how long that interview is, we're getting a lot of information and we're looking forward to wrapping this up at some point when that is right, showing it to the American people, but not rushing it, not hurrying this. We want everybody to have the full story. That's what's important. I have a new son. I want to make sure that in five and 10 years, when he's learning about this and history class, he gets the full answer and not some conspiracy garbage that we hear out there every day.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is the plan still to begin those public hearings in the spring?
REP. KINZINGER: I think spring or summer and in that timeframe is the hope, basically we'll will want to be able to- to take this information and present it to the American people, not just in a report which is going to be essential, but in people, in faces and in stories.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week in very clear terms that January 6th was a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election. So unlike some Republicans, he's clearly pointing to the intent of the actors, he's not just talking about the fact that there was some violence. He's saying what the people were doing that day was inherently wrong. And what President Trump was saying about the election has also now been clearly said by Vice President Mike Pence to have been wrong. Does this give more political cover to Republicans running for election in 2022 to say this? Or is it still too dangerous?
REP. KINZINGER: Well, it does give more political cover. The question is, will it? You know, I have- I have lost faith in some of the courage of my colleagues. I thought that every person when they swore an oath had some version of a red line they would never cross. But certainly, Mitch McConnell's statement was important. Certainly, the vice president's statement was important. But Margaret, this is a moment where every Republican. I don't care if you're running for city council all the way up to Congress, Senate, et cetera. Every Republican has to be clear and forceful on the record. Do they think January 6th was legitimate political discourse? Don't let them avoid it. Don't let them hem haw and don't let them transition to some other subject they'd rather talk about. This is an answer every one of them have to give, and then we can move on once they're clear and on the record. But this is definitive to our democracy. How do you feel? Was it legitimate?
MARGARET BRENNAN: As you know, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee and even Senator Marco Rubio, who was on this program last Sunday, argued that there's a difference between the day and then what the committee you are on and the work you were doing, what those things add up to. They argue that your committee is persecuting ordinary citizens that had nothing to do with violence. How do you respond to that?
REP. KINZINGER: I mean, it's obviously a convenient way for them to deflect. We are not looking at the twenty thousand or so people that were there on January 6th that did not enter the Capitol grounds. We're looking at the corruption that led up to the moment and what happened since. We're talking about anybody communicating and of course, those that went into the Capitol attempting to overthrow this. And they know that. Marco Rubio knows that. Ronna McDaniel knows that. All these folks know it. But they're trying to kind of pass around it because they don't want to tick off the base. OK, but they also don't want appear -appear to be too in there with Donald Trump, and that's the game. But the truth is, this is a moment where we have to choose. We have to take definitive lines and it's starting to shape up. It's starting to happen, but everybody should have to take a position.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Congressman, thank you for your time today. We'll be back in a moment.
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