President-elect Donald Trump recently said that he has no interest in appointing a special prosecutor to go after Hillary Clinton for the big nothing-burger email controversy that Republicans have been salivating over for the last year. His decision to not waste taxpayer dollars investigating something that the former secretary of state was already cleared of is not sitting well with Newt Gingrich, however.
During an interview with Fox & Friends on Wednesday, former Speaker of the House Gingrich urged Trump to not rule an investigation out:
“I think it’s very important for President-elect Trump to be very careful in this area. He can express his personal view – that he doesn’t want to have a vendetta, he’s going forward. But I think for him to interfere and say to the FBI or the IRS or the Justice Department, ‘You should not pay attention to law-breaking,’ that would be a tremendous blow to the rule of law. That would, in fact, be fully as much a violation of the rule of law as what [President] Obama did.”
Gingrich also implied that President Obama has covered up Hillary Clinton’s “crimes” and that is why she hasn’t been prosecuted. The former GOP speaker mentioned crimes committed by the Clinton Foundation (offering zero proof that crimes were committed, of course), but completely ignored the fact that the Trump Foundation actually admitted to breaking the law.
The Republican went on to say that he thinks Jeff Sessions, the man slated to be the new attorney general, will probably investigate Clinton anyway:
“I hope what President-elect Trump is saying is that he is not personally going to interfere with or in any way suggest to the FBI or the IRS what they should be doing. I can’t imagine that the new attorney general, [Sen.] Jeff Sessions [R-Ala.], would tolerate sending signals to the FBI or the IRS that they should not look at law-breaking.”
It’s interesting that Newt Gingrich is so intent on bringing charges against Hillary Clinton, when he himself has a terrible background. In 1997 then-Speaker Gingrich was sanctioned by almost the entire House after violating ethics laws. According to Politifact:
The allegations were largely adjudicated by January 1997, with Gingrich agreeing — in what amounted to a plea bargain — to pay a sum of $300,000 and admit that he had “engaged in conduct that did not reflect creditably on the House of Representatives.“ The settlement of the charges won approval from the full ethics committee by a 7-1 margin, and the entire House passed the ethics report 395 to 28, including by a 196-26 margin among Republicans. He became the first speaker in history to be sanctioned in this fashion by the House. (Here’s a time line of the full case.)
Even though Gingrich remained speaker for about two years after the sanction, he was eventually forced to resign because of his participation in another political witch-hunt: the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. The former speaker led the fight to impeach President Clinton and just like the bogus investigations into Hillary, Bill was acquitted of all charges. Before Clinton was acquitted, however, voters expressed their extreme disapproval of the entire proceedings and in the 1998 midterms. Republicans lost five seats in the House of Representatives, the first time in 176 years that a party lost seats in the House while the opposition was in the White House. This humiliating loss led to Gingrich’s resignation.
So while Gingrich may very well be gung-ho about investigating Hillary again, it is very obvious that the last person Trump should take advice from is the former speaker.