- Gingrich told Insider he wants Republicans to invent a new committee for “despicable” lawmakers.
- He wants Republicans to “dump” Rep. Adam Schiff in the committee with no staff.
- Gingrich earlier said January 6 Committee members could face jail if Republicans take over.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich wants Republicans to banish lawmakers he considers “despicable,” like Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, to a newly created, powerless committee if the GOP retakes the House majority in this year’s elections.
Gingrich’s comments to Insider follow his recent statement on Fox News that members of the select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol siege are risking “jail for the kind of laws they’re breaking” as they carry out their work.
Gingrich told Insider his advice is to invent a new committee “for people who are so despicable that they should not have any legislative jurisdiction.”
He recommended that House Republicans “dump” Schiff of California on the bogus committee “with no staff, no jurisdiction and no opportunity to do anything, and say, ‘You can stay in the Congress as long as you can get re-elected. You’ll just be useless.'”
Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was the lead manager in the trial that led to former President Trump’s first impeachment by the House in 2019. He also is a member of the January 6 Select Committee.
A Schiff spokesperson wrote to Insider, “Mr. Gingrich has [suggested] jailing the members of the January 6 committee. His false and dangerous smears merit no response.”
Gingrich said Schiff should go to the powerless committee “because he used his position as the head of the Intelligence Committee to lie to the country for years… And I would expect the Republicans next year will simply demand to see all of his records.”
As for jail sentences, he said it’s more likely that “all of those eager, aggressive young partisan staffers” on the January 6 Committee are more at risk than members.
Asked what would be the crime for a congressional committee doing oversight, Gingrich said, “the crime will be, if you’ll notice the two Supreme Court decisions in the McCarthy era.” A Gingrich spokesperson pointed to the 1950s cases, Watkins v. United States and Quinn v. United States, case law limiting congressional investigative powers. Additionally, the spokesperson said lawmakers and staff could also be found in violation of citizens’ Fourth Amendment protection against illegal searches and seizures.
Gingrich detailed his ideas for punishing Schiff and “a handful of destructive, dishonest members” in a January 18 blog post, titled “The Wolves Will Become Sheep,” comparing Democrats to wolves who will become sheep when the 2022 elections hands “the power to shear them” to Republicans.
He complained in the blog, as he did during his Fox News interview on Sunday, that the January 6 Committee will potentially bankrupt people who worked for or supported Trump.
Insider earlier wrote that his comments on Fox came about two weeks after the panel subpoenaed his longtime former aide, Ross Worthington, who also co-authored a book with him.
Asked if he was thinking about Worthington when he made those comments, Gingrich said he wasn’t.
He pointed instead to Glenn Greenwald’s column about the committee secretly acquiring financial records of American citizens without supervision by federal judges. He also cited news that the Capitol Police are gathering information on people who visit members of Congress.
Committee staff declined to comment and Capitol Police did not immediately respond.
Gingrich said, “you establish the basis for a very frightening country” if any random committee can secretly obtain a person’s records without a federal judge’s supervision.
“I don’t care whether they’re a Republican congressman or a Democratic congressman. I don’t want that level of power which violates every constitutional provision,” he said.