Congressman Adam Kinzinger, the Illinois Republican who has been one of the most vocal critics of Donald Trump, called out his party for criticizing Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while continuing to defend the former president’s decision to take sensitive government information to his home at Mar-a-Lago.
Kinzinger’s comments came days after the FBI released a redacted version of the affidavit the agency submitted to a federal judge to justify a search of Trump’s home. The document details how Trump retained classified material at Mar-a-Lago and that the government had been working for more than a year to retrieve those materials. A batch of documents returned earlier this year contained 184 documents marked as classified, including 25 marked as top secret.
“The hypocrisy of folks in my party that spent years chanting, ‘Lock her up,’ about Hillary Clinton because of some deleted emails or – quote/unquote – ‘wiping a server,’ are now out there defending a man who very clearly did not take the national security of the United States to heart,” Kinzinger, who is retiring from Congress after this term, said on NBC’s Meet The Press. “And it’ll be up to [the US justice department] whether or not that reaches the level of an indictment.
“But this is disgusting in my mind. And, like, no president should act this way, obviously.”
It is not yet clear whether Trump will face criminal charges in the matter. But during the 2016 presidential campaign that propelled him to the Oval Office, Trump and his Republican allies said his Democratic rival Clinton should be punished for her use of a private email server while she was serving as secretary of state.
“Lock her up,” became a rallying cry at Trump rallies on the campaign trail. A US state department investigation ultimately found there was “no persuasive evidence of systemic, deliberate mishandling of classified information”.
The former justice department official who oversaw the agency’s investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified material, David Laufman, told Politico earlier this month that the case and Trump’s were different.
“For the department to pursue a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago tells me that the quantum and quality of the evidence they were reciting – in a search warrant and affidavit that an FBI agent swore to – was likely as pulverizing in its force as to eviscerate any notion that the search warrant and this investigation are politically motivated,” Laufman said.
Trump has asked a federal judge to appoint a so-called special master who would determine whether materials that the FBI seized from his Florida resort can be used in any criminal investigation into him. The judge late Saturday issued an order indicating an openness to appointing a special master in the case, although that ruling is not final and called for a Thursday afternoon hearing to further consider the matter.
Kinzinger is one of two Republicans on the US House committee investigating the deadly January 6 Capitol attack that Trump supporters staged in a desperate attempt to prevent the congressional certification of Trump’s defeat to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
The other Republican on the committee, the Wyoming congresswoman Liz Cheney, recently lost her bid for re-election in a party primary against Trump-backed challenger Harriet Hageman.