Reps. Kinzinger, Luria: Vets to lead Jan. 6 hearing accusing Trump of ‘dereliction of duty’

The Thursday session highlighting how Trump did nothing to stop the Capitol attack will be led by Air Force vet Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and Navy vet Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va.

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The next Jan. 6 Committee hearing is Thursday, to be co-led by Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.. In this photo, Kinzinger speaks with reporters after closing remarks during the fifth hearing on the January 6th investigation in the Cannon House Office Building on June 23, 2022. 

The next Jan. 6 Committee hearing is Thursday, to be co-led by Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.. In this photo, Kinzinger speaks with reporters after closing remarks during the fifth hearing on the January 6th investigation in the Cannon House Office Building on June 23, 2022.

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WASHINGTON — Led by vets Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Elaine Luria, the Jan. 6 committee at their prime-time Thursday hearing will lay out their case about the dereliction of duty of a commander-in-chief — former President Donald Trump.

The session highlighting how Trump did nothing to stop the Capitol attack will be overseen by members with substantial military experience — Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican who served in the Air Force and is a pilot in the Air National Guard, and Rep. Elaine Luria, a Democrat from Virginia on active duty for 20 years in the Navy.

Selecting Kinzinger and Luria — both officers — to handle the questioning will serve to underscore how dereliction of duty — to violate an oath, whether deliberate or through neglect — is a serious offense for those swearing to protect the Constitution.

Trump, like all presidents, took an oath of office swearing he “will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Kinzinger and Luria said Sunday the Thursday hearing will focus on the 187 minutes where Trump took no action on Jan. 6 to stop the mob breaking into the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the presidential election and keep Trump in office.

The 187 minutes is considered by the panel the time between Trump’s departure from the “Stop the Steal” rally on the Ellipse, an area south of the White House — to when he sent a tweet telling people to leave the Capitol at 4:17 p.m.

Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and co-chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., have already said that their panel will be making the Trump dereliction-of-duty case. Kinzinger and Luria on Sunday said new information will be revealed Thursday night.

“We have filled in the blanks,” Kinzinger, who lives in Channahon, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“I can’t necessarily say that the motives behind every piece of information we know we’ll be able to explain. But this is going to open people’s eyes in a big way. The reality is — I’ll give you this preview — the president didn’t do very much but gleefully watch television during this time frame.

“We’re going to present a lot more than that ... if I was a president, sworn to defend the Constitution, that includes the legislative branch, watching this on television, I know I would have been going ballistic to try to save the Capitol. He did quite the opposite.”

Luria, on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said Trump “was doing nothing to actually stop the riot. We will go through pretty much minute by minute during that time frame, from the time he left the stage at the Ellipse, came back to the White House, and really sat in the White House, in the dining room, with his advisers urging him continuously to take action, to take more action.

“And not only was it a situation of not doing anything. At one point, the infamous tweet, we know, at 2:24, he actually egged people on by saying Vice President Pence didn’t have the courage to — quote, unquote — do the right thing,” Luria said.

Kinzinger served as an Air Force pilot and is, at present, a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard. Luria served in the Navy, on active duty for 20 years — the most of any Democrat in the House — and was a commander when she retired. Luria is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and was one of the first women to serve all her career on warships.

Luria on CNN said she and Kinzinger, as veterans, “understand what action looks like in a time of crisis.” Trump “is the only person in the Constitution whose duty is explicitly laid out to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed. I look at it as a dereliction of duty. He didn’t act. He had a duty to act.”

The hearing is taking place as Trump is signaling he will run again in 2024 and few Republicans are willing to stand up to his election denialism and his actions to overthrow the 2020 election.

Kinzinger, in a plea “to my fellow Republicans” asked them to watch the hearing “with an open mind and (ask) is this the kind of strong leader you really think you deserve?”

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