During an appearance on CNN’s Sunday morning show State of the Union, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) — who will soon be leaving Congressional service but is seemingly staying closely involved in politics — pushed for accountability for former President Donald Trump in response to both his corruption that led to two investigations now led by a special counsel and the related attempts at obstruction.
Obstruction is, of course, itself a crime. Trump has already insisted in an interview for Fox that he wouldn’t “partake” in the investigative efforts led by newly selected special counsel Jack Smith, who is a former Justice Department official-turned-war crimes prosecutor — although you can’t somehow make an investigation go away by not “partaking” in it, whatever that even means in actual practice. Smith will be handling the Justice Department probe into the harboring of classified documents taken from the Trump administration alongside portions of the investigation into conspiracies to essentially undo the outcome of the 2020 presidential race. Smith’s purview will not include individual criminal cases against participants in last year’s mob attack on the Capitol inspired by Trump’s lies.
“If we’re trying to do the best we can to take politics out of it, first off there are a lot of people that will never be satisfied that there’s no politics because that’s how they frankly raise money is to convince people that there’s some conspiracy out there,” Kinzinger said when asked about his take on the selection of a special counsel. “But I think what we’re going to be able to judge this by is what the ultimate outcome is… If the former president thinks that just by simply announcing he’s running for president, he can obstruct justice, I mean that would be a bad precedent of course because then anybody that’s under investigation could just announce they’re running for president in this country.” One of the potential benefits of selecting Smith as a special counsel is that it establishes a clear level of independence. Smith won’t be reporting to anybody else at the department on a daily basis — although the Mueller probe obviously proved Republicans remain ready to claim political interference.
Still, there’s an opening here — concerns aside — for serious accountability. Both arms of the investigations Smith is now leading could result in criminal charges, and he has the ability to bring criminal cases. Watch below:
Kinzinger on Marjorie Taylor Greene: "Look, when you're her — she's a millionaire — you have never sacrificed for a thing in your life, you have never served anything but yourself and your own goals, I can't expect her to understand what it means to actually defend democracy." pic.twitter.com/3zQCHVpup3
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 20, 2022