Representative Adam Kinzinger (R., Ill.) attacked Rich Lowry during a Sunday appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, accusing the National Review editor of biasing his analysis of Trump’s behavior on January 6 and the wisdom of prosecuting the former president out of sympathy for Trump and his supporters.
Kinzinger, a fervent Trump critic, was responding to claims Lowry made in a recent New York Times guest essay in which he argued that the various investigations into Trump, including the probe into his conduct on January 6, are unlikely to produce clear-cut evidence of the kind necessary to responsibly undertake the destabilizing exercise of prosecuting a former president.
“Another obstacle to the widespread acceptance of a potential indictment of Mr. Trump for Jan. 6 is that, absent smoking-gun evidence we aren’t aware of, it will be far from a clear-cut case,” Lowry wrote. “Mr. Trump did not shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, with the ballistics and witnesses all establishing beyond a doubt that he is guilty of a frequently and properly prosecuted crime. He engaged in a political offense against our constitutional system that criminal statutes are ill suited to address, no matter how infamous the conduct.”
Kinzinger responded by arguing that existing law is surely broad enough to implicate Trump in criminal behavior on January 6, and even suggested passing new legislation targeting Trump if existing statues weren’t sufficient to prosecute.
Look, I had a lot of respect for Rich Lowry. I still read him on occasion. It’s been amazing to watch his pivot from kind of intellectual conservative to, like, this anti-anti-Trumper. So he’s against people that are against Trump. He’s not necessarily for him. And so he’s constantly with this, “Well, there may be not precedents.” Of course, there’s not precedents. We’ve never had a president of the United States attempt a coup against the United States of America. So there’s no precedents. And if we need a new law, let’s get a new law. But I’m quite sure that some of the laws can cover this. The DOJ seems very convinced of it.
The Illinois congressman, one of only two Republicans on the panel, the other being Representative Liz Cheney, also insisted that the committee’s mission has not been to build a criminal case against Trump, although the panel may ultimately recommend prosecution in its final report, which is due by January 3, 2023.
And secondarily, Rich, our job is not to prosecute Trump. Our job is to present information to the American people, to talk about recommendations. Here’s what I recommend. And I’m going to say this even before the report. I recommend we never again elect somebody who does not respect the Constitution of the United States, who does not respect the voters, and who abuses people by lying to them. That is Donald Trump. And people can be anti those that are against Donald Trump. But we’re not against Donald Trump for any personal reasons, except we love the United States of America. And he is tearing it down daily.
Lowry opposed Trump’s candidacy in the 2016 Republican primary, presiding over the “Against Trump” special issue of National Review in which a host of prominent conservative writers made various cases against his candidacy.
Trump has criticized Lowry by name, calling him out in a recent press release that claimed he squandered the legacy of National Review founder William F. Buckley by holding the magazine to a credo of traditional conservatism, rather than embracing MAGA populism wholeheartedly.