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Kinzinger (R) shifts, calls for independent commission

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) on Wednesday called for an independent commission or special prosecutor to investigate possible ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russia.

It was a shift in position for Kinzinger, the deputy Republican whip, who said recent news reports had marked a turning point for him.

“It seems like every day there’s some new information to pop,” Kinzinger said on CNN’s “New Day.”

“This is very concerning and we’ve got to get to the bottom of this. We’ve got to get answers,” he said. “What it really is is, when this is done, the American people need to know that justice was served, either way.”

Kinzinger acknowledged that he thought former FBI director James B. Comey had “a very good reputation for the truth” but sidestepped questions about whom he would believe if it came down to Trump’s word versus Comey’s. He also demurred when asked if Trump asking Comey to stand down on an investigation would amount to obstruction of justice.

“I’m not a legal expert,” he said.

Toward the end of his appearance on CNN, news broke that Russian President Vladimir Putin had offered to provide the U.S. lawmakers a record of Trump’s meeting with Russian diplomat Sergey Lavrov to prove Trump did not divulge secrets.

Asked to respond, Kinzinger brushed off those developments.

“I don’t talk to murderous dictators like Vladimir Putin,” he said. “So Putin’s word to me doesn’t mean a whole lot.”

The latest on Trump, Comey and Russia: How key Washington players are reacting

The White House is searching for a new FBI director, after President Trump dismissed James Comey from that post May 9. Since the firing, The Washington Post broke the news Monday that Trump shared highly classified intelligence with Russian officials. And Tuesday, the New York Times reported and other outlets confirmed that Trump asked the FBI to drop its probe into then-national security adviser Michael Flynn and pursue leak cases.