‘Really Bad Politics’: Kinzinger Swipes At McCarthy Over Threat To Telecom Companies

UNITED STATES - AUGUST 24: Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., is seen in the Capitol Visitor Center before a briefing by administration leaders on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan on Tuesday, August 24, 2021. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 24: Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., is seen in the Capitol Visitor Center before a briefing by administration leaders on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan on Tuesday, August 24, 2021. (Photo By... UNITED STATES - AUGUST 24: Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., is seen in the Capitol Visitor Center before a briefing by administration leaders on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan on Tuesday, August 24, 2021. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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September 5, 2021 12:29 p.m.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) on Sunday took aim at House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for throwing a Trumpy fit over the Jan. 6 committee’s requests to social media and telecommunications firms to preserve records that it deems are relevant to its probe into the deadly Capitol insurrection.

Appearing on CNN, Kinzinger was asked about his response to McCarthy threatening that telecommunication companies that comply with the committee’s requests would not only violate federal law, but that “a Republican majority will not forget.”

Although he didn’t jump to concluding that McCarthy is trying to obstruct the committee’s inquiry, Kinzinger said that the House minority leader’s remarks are “really bad politics, to say the least.”

“As a committee, we have a right and we have the responsibility, and, frankly, we have the legal authority to go through the process of requesting these kinds of things,” Kinzinger said. “Right now, all we have said is, we want these records preserved.”

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Kinzinger declined to detail the names of people that the committee is asking companies to preserve records of that are potentially relevant to the events of Jan. 6, but emphasized that it’s a first step for the committee before it decides what it needs to see.

Kinzinger then criticized McCarthy’s “ominous talk” to telecommunication companies.

“I think to turn around then and make ominous talk to these telecom companies that, when we take over, it’s going to be different or we will have payback, that’s just not, frankly, the Republican Party I remember and the Republican Party I ever joined,” Kinzinger said.

Asked whether McCarthy’s threat is more than just “bad politics,” Kinzinger replied that he questions the House minority leader’s intention.

“I think, yes, it’s bad politics. Is it obstruction? I don’t know what is considered obstruction of a congressional investigation, but I would certainly recommend he never go there again,” Kinzinger said. “If you have a problem with what the committee’s doing, there is a process for your lawyers and your people to push back against it. But it’s not to go on TV and tell these companies that they’re going to regret it.”

Kinzinger added that it’s a “scary place” when lawmakers use their power to “get the outcome that we want.”

Last week, McCarthy issued a Trumpy gripe after the Jan. 6 committee requested 35 social media, email, and telecommunications firms to preserve records of GOP lawmakers that could potentially provide more information related to the Capitol insurrection.

The committee did not indicate who the individual targets of the request are. The committee’s letters only outlined the categories of records sought, but not the relevant people or entities.

However, CNN reported that the panel is requesting documents related to Republican lawmakers. The panel reportedly seeks the phone records of Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Jody Hice (R-GA) and Scott Perry (R-PA).

Although McCarthy was initially omitted from the panel’s phone records requests, CNN and Politico later reported that the committee ultimately decided to include McCarthy in their preservation requests to telecommunications companies.

Kinzinger’s remarks also come a day after Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Liz Cheney (R-WY) — who serve as the chair and vice chair of the Jan. 6 select committee, respectively — McCarthy’s (R-CA) “baseless” claims of former President Trump being cleared of any involvement in the deadly Capitol insurrection.

Watch Kinzinger’s remarks below:

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