Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said Sunday that officials investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot could be jailed if the GOP regains control of Congress in the midterm election.
The remark drew rebuke and mockery from the two House Republicans who sit on the committee investigating the riot, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinios.
Gingrich, a former Georgia congressman who served as speaker until 1999, called the investigation into the riot of former President Donald Trump’s supporters a “lynch mob” during the Fox News program "Sunday Morning Futures."
After saying Attorney General Merrick Garland and the nine-member committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot are “running over people’s civil liberties,” Gingrich accused them of breaking unspecified laws in response to a question from host Maria Bartiromo about an op-ed he wrote for Newsweek.
If Republicans win a majority in Congress this year, Gingrich said, “all these people who have been so tough and so mean and so nasty are going to be delivered subpoenas” for their communications.
“I think when you have a Republican Congress, this is all going to come crashing down and the wolves are going to find that they are now sheep, and they’re the ones who are in fact I think going to face a real risk of jail for the kinds of laws they’re breaking.”
Gingrich’s comments drew a rebuke from Cheney, who has bucked her party to sit on the committee investigating the riot that interrupted the counting of Electoral College votes that certified Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
“A former Speaker of the House is threatening jail time for members of Congress who are investigating the violent January 6 attack on our Capitol and Constitution,” Cheney tweeted Sunday. “This is what it looks like when the rule of law unravels.”
Kinzinger, the only other Republican on the committee, responded to Gingrich with a gif of comedian Chris Farley driving a bus full of children in the movie "Billy Madison."
More than 725 people have been arrested in connection with the riot in the last year, according to the Justice Department. Of the 165 individuals who have pleaded guilty to federal charges, 20 were for felonies, including six related to assaults on law enforcement.
The House committee is charged with investigating "the facts, circumstances, and causes" of the riot. It has issued subpoenas to several former Trump administration officials and advisers and voted to hold in contempt those who refused to cooperate.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Newt Gingrich: January 6 committee, investigators may face jail