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Newt Gingrich, a former House speaker and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, stoked outrage by predicting that members of the committee investigating the attack on the Capitol will be jailed if Republicans regain the chamber this year.
One of two Republicans on the committee, Liz Cheney, noted“A former Speaker of the House is threatening members of Congress investigating the violent attack on our Capitol and our constitution with jail. This is what it looks like when the rule of law breaks down.
Gingrich made a name for himself with scorched earth opposition to bill clinton in the 1990s and ran for the Republican nomination in 2012. He is now a prominent supporter of donald trump, right-wing gadfly and adviser to House Republican leaders. He made his prediction on Fox News, of which he is a contributor.
Calling members of the January 6 committee “wolves [who] are going to find out they’re sheep now,” he said that if the Republicans take over Congress in November, “everything is going to fall apart … they are the ones who, in fact, I think, are at real risk of prison for the kind of laws they are breaking”.
The Jan. 6 commission recommended criminal charges against the former White House adviser steve bannon and mark the meadows, Trump’s last chief of staff. Both refused to comply with the subpoenas.
Bannon pleaded not guilty to contempt of Congress, a charge that carries up to a year in prison, with a trial scheduled for the summer. The Justice Department took no action on Meadows.
Gingrich said: “You have, both with the Attorney General [Merrick] Garland and this select committee of January 6, people who have gone wild…they are pushing people’s civil liberties.
“And what they need to understand is that on January 4 of next year, you’re going to have a Republican majority in the House and a Republican majority in the Senate. And all of these people who have been so tough and mean and mean are going to get subpoenas for every document, every conversation, every tweet, every email.
Gingrich also said the committee was “essentially a lynching mob.”
Another member of the committee, the Democrat Zoe Lofgren, told CNN Gingrich’s comments were “just weird. I think Newt really lost it. You know, it leaves me speechless.
Alluding to Trump’s attempt to reverse his defeat in part through the Capitol putsch, Lofgren added, “I mean, unless he assumes the government is overthrown and there’s no justice system.”