Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has alienated one of his former supporters with his comments suggesting that Republicans will jail members of the House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol.
"These are people who are literally just running over the law, pursuing innocent people, causing them to spend thousands and thousands of dollars in legal fees for no justification and it's basically a lynch mob," Gingrich predicted on Fox Business. "I think when you have a Republican Congress, this is all going to come crashing down and the wolves will find out they are now sheep and they are the ones in fact, who face a real risk of jail for the kind of laws they are breaking."
Daily Beast conservative columnist Matt Lewis voiced his disappointment with Gingrich on Tuesday.
"I’ve always had a soft spot for Newt Gingrich. While I grew disappointed in his Trump boosterism, I always admired his intellect (heck, I even made the case that he should be Trump’s running mate). But a comment he made Sunday on Fox News suggests Gingrich has tipped too far toward MAGA world’s worst authoritarian instincts to be redeemable," Lewis wrote. "A senior statesman, like Gingrich, should not be promiscuously injecting political retribution into the discourse—especially in this political atmosphere."
He noted Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) praised Gingrich for his comments on Steve Bannon's podcast.
"Gingrich is well aware that using political power to 'lock her up,' as it were, is the stuff of banana republics and authoritarian regimes," he wrote. "As a 78-year-old historian, Gingrich, unlike Gaetz, should be expected to know better. Unlike the backbencher congressman, Newt was once [second] in line to the presidency and he was appearing on the top-rated Fox News—not a fringe outlet like Bannon’s War Room podcast, One America News Network (OAN), or Newsmax."
Lewis worried about what Gingrich's comments say about the GOP.
"Of course, the knock on Gingrich was always that he was grandiose and had too many eccentric ideas. But he was brilliant. He had panache. In the TV era, it helps to have a flair for the dramatic and I always thought Gingrich at least operated within the broad acceptable spectrum of liberal democracy," Lewis wrote. "This is to say, Gingrich was always a hyper-partisan culture warrior, but he was also an intellectual who was well within the conservative movement’s mainstream. The scary thing is, he still is."
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Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and a handful of his allies were added on Tuesday to an official list of "terrorists and extremists", the latest in a series of moves by Russian authorities to stamp out their opposition to President Vladimir Putin.
News agencies reported separately that the federal prison service had demanded that Navalny's brother Oleg be given a real jail term in place of a one-year suspended sentence handed to him last year.
Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner and a thorn in Putin's side for the past decade, survived being poisoned with a nerve agent in 2020 and was jailed last year on parole violations related to an earlier fraud case he says was trumped up. His political network was banned as "extremist" last year.
The "terrorist" listing by the state financial monitoring service means Navalny and the members of his team are subject to limits on bank transactions and need to seek approval every time they want to use their accounts.
Navalny's chief of staff Leonid Volkov said on Facebook: "I'm proud to work in our fine team of 'extremists and terrorists'. By devaluing the meaning of words and turning their meaning inside out, the Kremlin is digging a deeper hole for itself. It's doing all it can to make those who still believe Putin stop to believing him."
Lyubov Sobol, one of the faces of Navalny's popular YouTube channel, told Ekho Moskvy radio that Putin was declaring anyone he didn't like to be a terrorist.
Sobol was added to the list on Tuesday, and Volkov earlier this month. Both are among a group of Navalny's leading allies who have fled Russia to avoid arrest.
Navalny's brother Oleg was given a one-year suspended sentence last August. He was among a group of people accused of inciting people to break Covid-19 restrictions by attending unauthorized protests in January 2021.
According to a report from Business Insider, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is being kept at arm's length by a substantial number of his Republican colleagues as the investigation into allegations he engaged in sex trafficking appears to be coming to an end.
Two weeks ago it was reported that his former girlfriend was granted immunity before testifying before a Florida grand jury which led former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance to caution, "It's never a good sign for the target when a key witness gets immunity to testify in front of the grand jury."
According to Kimberly Leonard, Camila DeChalus, and Bryan Metzger of Business Insider, "Most Republicans are neither embracing nor condemning scandal-ridden Rep. Matt Gaetz. Yet they may soon face a decision day — one they've been happy to avoid, since Gaetz is one of former President Donald Trump's most vocal defenders — and some Republicans are quietly preparing for the real possibility that federal officials will charge the Florida Republican with crimes."
As to why they have refrained from any negative comments about the Florida Republican, Luis Alvarado, a Republican political strategist explained, "Matt Gaetz is still a poster boy for Trumpism. And if you deny that, then a question arises whether you're still part of that movement."
Instead, the report notes, his colleagues -- with the exception of equally controversial Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) -- have sidelined him, including not asking him to be a co-sponsor on a bill to legalize cannabis written by Republicans despite the fact that he is a vocal proponent of legalization.
According to Insider, "Asked about Gaetz's omission from the bill, a cannabis-industry source who spoke on condition of anonymity cited the DOJ investigation," saying, "It has been more difficult for him to lead legislative efforts because of the associated issues."
The report continues, "It shows that while Gaetz still has friends in Congress, even his allies are quietly isolating him — or at least not going out of their way to work with him," before adding, "Some Republicans, who have never much cared for Gaetz since he entered Congress in 2018, have been privately sneering at him in the months since his legal woes began, Insider previously reported. Other Republicans have given donations from Gaetz's campaign committee, called Friends of Matt Gaetz, to charity, according to Federal Election Commission records."
As for Gaetz's future, should he be indicted, one Justice Department official predicted he will still have one defender: Donald Trump.
"Gaetz is almost as toxic as Marjorie Taylor Greene," the official remarked. "However, Trump's associates are often slimy or controversial and it doesn't seem to impact his supporters."
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