Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has suggested that Republicans could use hypothetical midterm victories to target and potentially imprison members of the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol building.
Gingrich, who has been advising Republican leaders for the past several months, issued his warning while appearing on Fox News Sunday to discuss the latest developments regarding the select committee’s work.
“You’re going to have a Republican majority in the House and a Republican majority in the Senate” after the 2022 midterm races, Gingrich said. “And all of these people who have been so tough and so mean and so nasty are going to be delivered subpoenas.”
Gingrich did not offer any concrete justification for issuing subpoenas.
“I think when you have a Republican Congress,” Gingrich predicted, “this is all going to come crashing down. And the wolves are going to find out they are now sheep and they’re the ones who are going to face a real risk of, I think, jail for the kind of laws they’re breaking.”
Grigrich did not explain what infractions or wrongdoing the January 6 commission had broken in pursuit of their inquiry.
The House select committee was established to “investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol” and to “report upon the facts, circumstances, and causes relating to” that attack. Violence carried out by a mob of loyalists to former President Donald Trump took place shortly after the defeated Republican candidate delivered an incendiary speech urging them to go directly to Congress to “take back” the country following his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden. Many Republicans who had initially condemned the attack have since stepped back on those comments from a year ago, and have instead engaged in a revisionist, fictional retelling of what happened that day.
Gingrich’s claims that the commission’s work has been unlawful (and similar claims made by other Republicans that the investigation is illegitimate) have been countered by defenders of the select committee, who have noted that the commission has the same powers delegated to it that other select committees have had in the past, including the congressional investigation into the response to Hurricane Katrina and the inquiry examining the attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
“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,” said Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming).
“You know, it leaves me speechless,” commission member Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California) added while speaking to reporters. “I mean, unless he is assuming that the government does get overthrown and there’s no system of justice.