Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich set the record straight in an interview with National Public Radio on Wednesday, saying that there is an entrenched left-wing establishment at the Department of Justice that is running the agency and its investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and the Trump campaign’s connection to it following Attorney General Jeff Session’s recusal in the matter.
Morning Edition host Rachel Martin began the interview by playing a sound byte of President Donald Trump saying he is “disappointed” in Sessions during a joint press conference on Tuesday with the Lebanese prime minister.
Martin asked Gingrich about his recent conversation with the president, which included speaking about Sessions.
“Well, I think the president’s deeply troubled,” Gingrich said. “And I think that he’s legitimately troubled.
“The Justice Department is a extraordinarily left-wing institution,” Gingrich said. “Ninety-seven percent of its donations went to Hillary Clinton.
“It has an embedded bureaucracy, which was captured very, very well by Sidney Powell in her book Licensed To Lie.” Gingrich said. “And I think that he’s deeply troubled by the entire way that both Comey and Mueller have operated and the degree to which the attorney general has not exercised any authority over that. So…”
As the interview continued Gingrich called the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller a “fishing expedition.”
And when Martin said it would be “suspect” if there were no investigation, the following exchange took place:
Gingrich: Of course it’s suspect to you. But isn’t it equally suspect to you that 97 percent of the donations by people employed at Justice went to Hillary Clinton and that, in terms of Mueller’s law firm, it was 99.82 percent went to Hillary Clinton? And in terms of the people he’s been hiring, these are paid killers. If you read Sidney Powell’s book about the Enron case, you will see these names coming up. And these are people who the Supreme Court…
Martin: But Jeff…
Gingrich: …By a 9-0 vote rebuked.
Martin: So Jeff Sessions, though, is not a liberal by any stretch of the imagination.
Gingrich: No, and…
Martin: He’s not a Democrat. And he’s the leader of that department.
Gingrich: But no, he’s – that’s the whole point that Trump is making, is that he stepped aside. And therefore, he’s not the leader of the department. A career Justice Department person is the leader of the department. And it’s a department whose culture’s very liberal — a department whose culture’s very anti-Trump. And the…
Martin: So you’re suggesting that the president hire an attorney general who would plant and insert an entire department full of Republicans? That seems to be antithetical to the department’s entire raison d’etre, which is to be above partisan politics.
Gingrich: Yeah, and if you believe that, you live in a fantasy land. If you believe the Justice Department does not have a deep cultural bias and you believe that the average conversation in the Justice Department is not anti-Trump, you’re just living in a fantasy land. And that — and that’s the president’s frustration.
Look, he doesn’t expect the attorney general to single-handedly change everything. He doesn’t expect the attorney general to, in any way, impede the law. But let me go back to the original thing. I’m personally appalled, as a former speaker of the House, that neither the House nor the Senate judiciary committee have asked Rosenstein, the person who’s in charge of this investigation…
Martin: He’s the deputy attorney general.
Gingrich: The deputy attorney general — a couple of simple questions. What is the crime which Mueller’s investigating? Tell us what the code is that has been violated that he’s investigating. Second, why would he hire only anti-Trump lawyers?
Martin: I mean, we should say…
Gingrich: These are legitimate questions that need to be answered.
Martin: We should say that it is — you can’t demonstrate that these are anti-Trump lawyers. It is…
Gingrich: Oh, give me a break.
Martin: It is true that there are…
Gingrich: Give me a break.
At the conclusion of the interview Gingrich said he believed the Mueller investigation was aimed directly at Trump.
“And there’s no question in my mind,” Gingrich said. “Mueller’s brought in killers. Those killers are going to go out and find somebody. These are not the kind of lawyers who are inclined to be neutral.”
Gingrich also said Sessions should keep his job.
“Well, I think he should keep Jeff Sessions,” Gingrich said. “And I think he ought to quit publicly maligning him. I think that Jeff Sessions, in fact, was one of his earliest and most loyal supporters. I think Jeff Sessions is a solid conservative.
“So I think Sessions should stay,” Gingrich said.
Immediately following the interview, Martin brought in NPR Senior Political Editor Domenico Montanaro to “unpack” what Gingrich had said. Montanaro volunteered:
Well, if you believe Newt Gingrich, you would believe that there’s a conspiracy against Donald Trump within all levels of government, in particular at the Justice Department, which he called very liberal or having a culture that is very liberal. You know, I think most Republicans on Capitol Hill would probably disagree with him, especially when it comes to Robert Mueller. As you pointed out, Robert Mueller has been a registered Republican.
“But donations themselves don’t necessarily equate to an ethical conflict of interest,” Montanaro said. “And they aren’t even donations from Mueller himself. There were donations from people that Mueller worked with. But that’s how conspiracies work.
“You sort of have guilt by association when it comes to whether or not you see conflict or at least try to muddy the waters,” Montanaro said. “I think, you know, in addition to our audience, his other audience for Newt Gingrich was President Trump and for somebody trying to sell books, to be perfectly honest.”