Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) on Monday characterized former President Trump’s shifting defense for taking classified documents to his Mar-a-Lago estate as an “evolving explanation” similar to the way he blamed a variety of groups for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and pinned the riot on everyone but his own supporters.
On CNN’s “The Situation Room,” host Wolf Blitzer asked Kinzinger to assess how much of a national security risk it was to keep such highly sensitive material outside a secure government space as a host of Republicans defend Trump and insist he did nothing wrong.
“The explanations from Donald Trump fearing stuff was planted to all the sudden saying he just like mentally declassified this stuff to saying, well, people take work home all the time, I mean, just like anything, just like Jan. 6, when it started as an antifa operation, then it was the FBI, and then it was really just a bunch of tourists, and then it was a bunch of people that were misunderstood,” Kinzinger told Blitzer.
“There is always an evolving explanation, but that evolving explanation is always a lie, and it points to the fact that Donald Trump knew what he was doing,” Kinzinger concluded. “So I don’t know the details of the raid. But it certainly seems like Donald Trump’s explanation is not accurate.”
Kinzinger serves on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Lawmakers have spent months trying to determine Trump’s involvement in the attack that day, detailing a pressure campaign on former Vice President Mike Pence and other officials to overturn the election results while egging on his supporters to “fight like hell” in the wake of his 2020 election defeat.
Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate was searched last week by the FBI, after which an unsealed search warrant made public on Friday detailed how federal authorities suspect that Trump violated the Espionage Act and other laws.
Trump has ripped the FBI and Department of Justice while giving varying explanations for why he did nothing wrong.
He has decried the agency’s action as “political persecution” and at one point floated the idea that evidence had been planted in the search.
Then, Trump’s argument evolved, with the former president and his team saying he had declassified the documents that were at Mar-a-Lago.
The Trump team later put out a statement saying that “everyone ends up having to bring home their work from time to time” and that Trump would take documents, including classified documents, to his residence to “prepare for work the next day.”
In his latest defense, Trump claimed documents were taken that are covered by attorney-client and executive privileges and called on the FBI to return them.