Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., described how the Justice Department officials appearing at the June 23 hearing had “stood firm” in the face of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to use the DOJ for political gain to overturn the 2020 election.
Kinzinger said the witnesses – former acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen, former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donohue and Steven Engel, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel – upheld the oaths they took when coming into public service.
They rejected the “overbearing political pressure because they understood that their oath was to the Constitution. And not to the personal or political interests of the president,” Kinzinger said, on Day 5 of the public hearings held by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.
Kinzinger then addressed his fellow Republican lawmakers to think about a hypothetical where the highest justice department official was pursuing a purely political agenda.
“Imagine the country’s top prosecutor, with the power to open investigations, subpoena, charge crimes and seek imprisonment. Imagine that official pursuing the agenda of the other party instead of that of the American people as a whole. And if you’re a Democrat, imagine it the other way around,” he said.
The hearing, the fifth of several planned by the Jan. 6 committee, focused on Trump’s pressure on the Department of Justice to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. In the year since its creation, the committee has conducted more than 1,000 interviews, seeking critical information and documents from people witness to, or involved in, the violence that day.