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Adam Kinzinger: I had 'my gun out' and considered firing it at Jan. 6 rioters who might break into my office and 'try to fight and kill me'

Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger said he had his "gun out" during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and considered firing it at those who might break into his office "to fight and kill" him.

What are the details?

The Illinois lawmaker dropped the aforementioned tidbit during a Rolling Stone interview conducted by CNN political pundit S.E. Cupp and added, "I knew there was going to be violence" on the day of 2020 election certification.

Kinzinger, according to the magazine, also said he "warned [House Minority Leader] Kevin McCarthy two days prior to it. And he was very dismissive of it, of course. But I asked my staff to stay home. I came in, it was kind of a normal morning. I was watching [then-President Donald] Trump's speech, and it was crazy, like usual. I remember seeing [Donald Trump] Jr. say, 'This is now Trump's party.' And I'm like, well that's creepy. And then Trump says, 'I'm going to go with you to the Capitol.' I'm like, 'Man, this is bad.' So I went down for the opening of the certification. And then I left, pretty much when the proceedings started, and then spent basically the next six hours in my office, hunkered down, with my gun out, prepared to defend against my own party."

When Cupp asked the congressman if he was ever "genuinely scared," Kinzinger answered affirmatively, the Rolling Stone interview says:

"Yeah. I'd say maybe it's around 2:30 p.m., and there was a moment where I was like, 'Man, there's a real sense of evil.' I can't explain it any further than that. And I'm not one of these guys that feels evil a lot. But I just felt a real darkness, like a thick, bad feeling. And there was about a 15- to 30-minute time frame, where, at one point, you realize they've breached the Capitol. I know if they can breach those outer lines, they can get anywhere, including my office. And I had been targeted on Twitter that day and prior, like, 'Hangman's noose. We're coming for you.' And people know where my office is. So I barricaded myself in here, thinking, 'If this is as bad as it seems, they may end up at my office, breaking this crap down, and I may have to do what I can.'"

Cupp then asked Kinzinger if he considered shooting "American citizens."

"Yeah, I thought about it," he replied, according to the magazine. "If you're already at a point where you're beating down police officers, and you're willing to sack the U.S. Capitol, which hadn't been done in hundreds of years, if you come face-to-face with Chief RINO in his office, who doesn't believe that Donald Trump won re-election, yeah, they're going to try to fight and kill me, and I'm not going to let that happen."

Anything else?

Kinzinger is one of 10 House Republicans who voted for impeaching Trump following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, but the Senate didn't reach the vote threshold needed for a conviction, and Trump already had left office.

He was also the only Republican aside from U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming to serve on the commission probing the Capitol riot. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) selected Kinzinger and Cheney while denying spots to GOP U.S. Reps. Jim Banks (Ind.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio) since they supported Trump and voted against his impeachment.

Kinzinger — also one of the 13 GOP lawmakers who voted for President Joe Biden's $1.2 trillion "socialism bill" earlier this month — announced in October that he won't seek another term in the U.S. House but may run for Senate, the governor's seat, or perhaps even president.

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