Kinzinger, who defended party leadership by serving on the Democratic-led committee, described an alarming message he received at home in the mail several days ago threatening to execute him, his wife and their 5-month-old baby.
“I’d never seen or had anything like that. It was sent from the local area,” he said.
Public officials have been inundated with threats in recent months, many spurred by former president Donald Trump’s continued obsession with the baseless claim that his 2020 loss was the result of a vast conspiracy of fraud. The Washington Post last year tracked how election administrators in at least 17 states received threats of violence in the months after the Jan. 6 attack, often sparked directly by comments from Trump.
The Attack: Before, During and After
The violence on Jan. 6 was a logical conclusion given the falsehoods spread by Trump his allies, Kinzinger said. “If you truly believe the deep state owned the election and the democracy was stolen and the election was stolen, that’s the most logical outcome,” said Kinzinger, who voted to impeach Trump shortly after the Jan. 6 attack and is not running for reelection.
He warned that the lies have not ended and could lead to a degradation of the democratic system, pointing to a county in New Mexico where Republican commissioners last week refused to certify the results of a primary election because they did not trust their voting machines. The commission reversed its rejection only after an order from the state supreme court.
A major goal of the committee has been to make clear to Americans that Trump was repeatedly told his loss was legitimate and that his schemes to overturn Joe Biden’s win were illegal but pushed forward anyhow.
The panel will hold its fourth public hearing on Tuesday, focusing on the pressure applied to state officials to reverse Biden’s win. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who received a phone call from Trump on Jan. 2, 2021, urging him to “find” the necessary votes to give his state from him to Trump, is expected to testify. Other witnesses are expected to include Georgia elections official Gabe Sterling and Arizona’s Republican House Speaker Rusty Bowers.
“The president was told this scheme is essentially something that his own lawyers couldn’t justify. But yet he pressed on, uprooted people’s lives, put their lives and our democracy very much at risk,” Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who will lead the questioning for the committee Tuesday, said Sunday on CNN’s “ State of the Union.”
Schiff said too that the committee wants to interview Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Emails and texts show that Ginni Thomas was actively working to upend Biden’s win, even though it was clear the Supreme Court could play a key role in the outcome. (The court ultimately declined to hear a case to overturn Biden’s win in four states.)
“We have a range of questions to ask her,” Schiff said. “Obviously, I think the committee will be interested, among other things, whether this was discussed with Justice Thomas, given that he was ruling on cases impacting whether we would get some of this information.”
The committee last week sent Ginni Thomas a letter asking her to testify. Ginni Thomas suggested to the conservative publication The Daily Caller last week that she is willing to testify voluntarily.
“I can’t wait to clear up misconceptions. I look forward to talking to them,” she said.