Republican Rep Adam Kinzinger has raised fears about the future of America if Donald Trump isn’t criminally charged for his role in the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.
Mr Kinzinger, whose term in Congress will come to an end on Tuesday when the new House is sworn in, issued a grave warning on Sunday about what could happen if the Justice Department (DOJ) does not hold the former president to account.
“If this is not a crime, I don’t know what is. If a president can incite an insurrection and not be held accountable, then really there’s no limit to what a president can do or can’t do,” he told CNN on Sunday.
Despite his fears, Mr Kinzinger said he believes the DOJ will “do the right thing” and charge Mr Trump over the riot.
“I think the Justice Department will do the right thing. I think he will be charged, and I frankly think he should be,” he said.
“If he is not guilty of a crime, then I frankly fear for the future of this country.”
Mr Kinzinger warned that the future of the Republican Party is also in peril as he blamed GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy for enabling Mr Trump to make a political comeback – despite his role on January 6.
“The Republican Party is not the future of this country unless it corrects,” he said.
“Donald Trump is alive today politically because of Kevin McCarthy. He went to Mar-a-Lago a couple weeks after January 6 and resurrected Donald Trump. He is the reason Donald Trump is still a factor.”
Mr Kinzinger’s comments echo the warning made by the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot when the panel released its final report last month.
“In the Committee’s judgment, based on all the evidence developed, President Trump believed then, and continues to believe now, that he is above the law, not bound by our Constitution and its explicit checks on Presidential authority. This recent Trump statement only heightens our concern about accountability,” the report states.
“If President Trump and the associates who assisted him in an effort to overturn the lawful outcome of the 2020 election are not ultimately held accountable under the law, their behavior may become a precedent and invitation to danger for future elections.
“A failure to hold them accountable now may ultimately lead to future unlawful efforts to overturn our elections, thereby threatening the security and viability of our Republic.”
Mr Kinzinger was one of just two Republicans on the panel. The second was Liz Cheney who lost her reelection bid in the November midterms.
Last month, the panel released the report from the 17-months-long investigation into the insurrection and recommended that the DOJ pursue criminal charges against Mr Trump.
The committee recommended that the former president faces at least four criminal charges: obstructing an official proceeding, defrauding the United States, making false statements, and assisting or aiding an insurrection.
Criminal referrals were also made against several other members of Mr Trump’s inner circle.
While it falls to the DOJ to decide whether or not to bring any criminal charges, the House committee report did reveal several new allegations about the role Mr Trump and his inner circle played in the insurrection.
In it, the House panel details how Mr Trump and his allies took part in a “multi-part conspiracy” to overturn the election results – a conspiracy that culminated in the events of that day.
“That evidence has led to an overriding and straight forward conclusion: the central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, whom many others followed,” the report states.
“None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him.”