Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has re-emerged in recent days as an active surrogate for President Trump, and it didn't take long for him to join his stable of untruth tellers — this time adding hypocrisy to the mix.
In a speech to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., yesterday, the former House speaker who voted to impeach President Clinton for obstruction of justice, said that Trump can't be guilty of obstructing justice in the widening Russia probe — because he's the president. The "president cannot obstruct justice," said Gingrich. "The President of the United States is the chief executive officer of the United States. If he wants to fire the FBI director, all he has to do is fire him."
The U.S. Justice Department disagrees. Yesterday, Trump himself confirmed that he is currently under investigation for obstruction of justice for firing FBI director James Comey, after asking him to "lay off" the investigation into former adviser Michael Flynn's Russian ties.
(Gingrich's comments echoed one of President Richard Nixon's defenses of the Watergate scandal: "When the president does it, that means it is not illegal," he told David Frost in 1977.)
Twitter users quickly pointed out the irony of Gingrich's assertions, given his role in President Clinton's impeachment by the House.
Obstruction of justice was the third article of impeachment against Bill Clinton in the House. And Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House. https://t.co/ldDjphH05P
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) June 16, 2017
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) June 16, 2017
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) June 16, 2017
— Adam Blickstein (@AdamBlickstein) June 16, 2017
— Will Arnett™ (@arnettwill) June 15, 2017
Gingrich has also attacked Robert Mueller, the special counsel who is leading the FBI investigation into Trump's possible collusion with Russian meddling in the 2016 election: "Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair. Look who he is hiring. Check FEC reports. Time to rethink," he tweeted on June 12.
Republicans are delusional if they think the special counsel is going to be fair. Look who he is hiring.check fec reports. Time to rethink.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) June 12, 2017
That came a little over a month after he tweeted, "Robert Mueller is superb choice to be special counsel. His reputation is impeccable for honesty and integrity. Media should now calm down" on May 17.
Robert Mueller is superb choice to be special counsel. His reputation is impeccable for honesty and integrity. Media should now calm down
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) May 18, 2017