Newt Gingrich, the former Republican House speaker, raised quite a few eyebrows on Sunday after raising the prospect of jail time for members of the congressional special committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Gingrich’s logic, which predicted that the GOP would take back the House this November, was based on the false notion that somehow, the committee was guilty of criminal wrongdoing.
“I think when you have a Republican Congress, this is all going to come crashing down,” Gingrich warned on Fox News. “The wolves are going to find out that they’re now sheep and they’re the ones who are in fact, I think, face a real risk of jail for the kinds of laws they’re breaking.”
Gingrich’s suggestion is a spectacular escalation of the concern that should Democrats lose the House, Republicans will start launching various efforts, including investigations, aimed at impeaching President Joe Biden. The remarks were roundly condemned. “I think Newt has really lost it,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said on CNN.
Republicans on the Jan. 6 committee also blasted Gingrich, with Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) invoking the classic Chris Farley gif of a crazed bus driver in “Billy Madison” to mock Gingrich.
— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) January 23, 2022
A former Speaker of the House is threatening jail time for members of Congress who are investigating the violent January 6 attack on our Capitol and our Constitution.
This is what it looks like when the rule of law unravels. https://t.co/vpQZjTg9em
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) January 23, 2022
But, rather unsurprisingly, the suggestion that committee members could face jail time does appear to have landed with some of the more colorful members of the GOP. Here’s Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida on Monday getting extremely amped up by Gingrich’s comments:
Matt Gaetz to Steve Bannon: "You know what, Newt's right! We are going to take power. And when we do, it's not going to be the days of Paul Ryan and Trey Gowdy where the Republicans go limp-wristed, where they lose their backbone, and they fail to send a single subpoena." pic.twitter.com/tqA7Z0fUf3
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) January 24, 2022
As for the very real federal investigation into child sex trafficking he faces, Gaetz angrily dismissed it as nothing but Deep State nonsense.