Jan 6 committee wants to interview Newt Gingrich over claims ex-Speaker was advising Trump

·3 min read

The House January 6 select committee has asked former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to submit to a voluntary interview regarding his efforts to advise former president Donald Trump on ways to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

In a letter to Mr Gingrich, Select Committee Chair Bennie Thompson said the panel has obtained Trump campaign emails indicating that the ex-Georgia congressman “provided” Trump campaign advisers, including ex-Trump White House aide Jared Kushner and campaign strategist Jason Miller, with “detailed input” into scripts for television advertisements meant to “cast doubt on the outcome of the election after voting had taken place”.

Mr Thompson said the records obtained by the committee show Mr Gingrich pushed for the Trump campaign to broadcast ads promoting false allegations about two Fulton County, Georgia election workers, Ruby Freeman and Wandrea Shaye Moss.

Multiple Trump associates, including the ex-president’s former personal attorney, publicly accused the two election workers of smuggling a “suitcase” purportedly full of fraudulent ballots into a counting room at State Farm Arena. The allegations were repeatedly debunked by Georgia elections officials, but Ms Freeman and Ms Moss nonetheless faced death threats and months of harassment as a result of the lies told about them by Mr Trump and his allies.

Wandrea ‘Shaye’ Moss, a former Georgia election worker, is comforted by her mother, Ruby Freeman, right, as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, June 21, 2022 (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Wandrea ‘Shaye’ Moss, a former Georgia election worker, is comforted by her mother, Ruby Freeman, right, as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, June 21, 2022 (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Mr Thompson wrote that Mr Gingrich “specifically pushed for national advertisements to include false allegations” about what he referred to as the “suitcase scandal”.

He added that an 8 December 2020 email from Mr Gingrich said the goal of the Trump campaign ads was to “arouse the country’s anger” so voters would “bring pressure on legislators and governors”.

Mr Thompson also said the panel has evidence showing the former speaker was involved in a scheme to submit fraudulent documents to the National Archives which purported to be electoral certificates showing Georgia’s electoral votes for Mr Trump despite the state being won by Mr Biden in 2020, as well as emails showing he continued to push then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows about overturning the election even after Congress had to suspend certification to evade a pro-Trump mob that had stormed the Capitol.

“The Committee is also interested in other communications you may have had with the White House, President Trump, the Trump legal team or any other persons involved in the events of January 6th. We ask that you preserve all records of such communications,” he added.

Mr Thompson said the panel would like to conduct a “voluntary transcribed interview” with Mr Gingrich and his counsel during the week of 19 September.

It’s unclear whether the former Georgia congressman, who represented the Peach State’s 6th district from 1979 to 1999 and served as speaker from 1995 to 1999, will cooperate with the panel’s investigation, but his political career was defined by his willingness to reject the legitimacy of any institution run by Democrats, and he has maintained that same attitude in the decades since he left office.

In a January 2022 interview with Fox News, the ex-speaker said the select committee was “basically a lynch mob” and predicted that members would be jailed for unspecified crimes if Republicans retake control of the House in the November midterm elections.