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Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, highlighted the pressure President Donald Trump was putting on the Justice Department to keep himself in power.
Watch Kinzinger’s remarks in the player above.
Thursday’s hearing brought attention to a memorably turbulent stretch at the department as Trump in his final days in office sought to bend to his will a law enforcement agency that has long cherished its independence from the White House.
Kinzinger is one of only two Republicans on the House Jan. 6 Committee.
The testimony was aimed at showing that Trump not only relied on outside advisers to press his false claims of election fraud but also tried to leverage the powers of federal executive branch agencies.
WATCH: Jan. 6 Committee hearings – Day 5
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.
Casey is a producer for NewsHour's digital video team. She has won several awards for her work in broadcast journalism, including a national Edward R. Murrow award.
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