Jan. 6 panel alleges Gingrich involvement with Trump efforts, seeks interview
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol is asking former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) to voluntarily sit with its investigators, claiming he advised the Trump team in the days after the former president’s loss in the 2020 election.
“Information obtained by the Select Committee suggests that you provided detailed directives about the television advertisements that perpetuated false claims about fraud in the 2020 election, that you sought ways to expand the reach of this messaging, and that you were likely in direct conversations with President Trump about these efforts,” the committee wrote in its letter to Gingrich.
According to the panel, Gingrich was in touch with a number of Trump’s advisors, with his communications ranging from weighing in on ads that he said needed to include a “call to action” to influence voters to even reaching out to high-level White House staff like chief of staff Mark Meadows about how Trump could challenge electors from key states.
Even the night after the attack Gingrich was in touch with Meadows about Trump’s false elector effort.
The letter details numerous emails Gingrich sent to Trump staff, including one in which he said they needed to promote a debunked conspiracy theory that election workers in Georgia had smuggled in suitcases full of ballots. In that email Gingrich advised that the ads should include a “call to action.”
According to the panel, Gingrich was in touch with Trump advisers and provided line edits to advertisements run by the campaign following Trump’s loss.
“Some of the information that we have obtained includes email messages that you exchanged with senior advisors to President Trump and others, including Jared Kushner and Jason Miller, in which you provided detailed input into television advertisements that repeated and relied upon false claims about fraud in the 2020 election,” the committee wrote.
“These advertising efforts were not designed to encourage voting for a particular candidate. Instead, these efforts attempted to cast doubt on the outcome of the election after voting had already taken place. They encouraged members of the public to contact their state officials and pressure them to challenge and overturn the results of the election,” the committee added, noting that the ads ran in the days leading up to the Dec. 14 meeting of state electors.
In one email sent shortly after Georgia election officials warned the public of the violent threats made against its workers, Gingrich wrote to Kushner and Miller about the strategy.
“The goal is to arouse the country’s anger through new verifiable information the American people have never seen before[.] . . . If we inform the American people in a way they find convincing and it arouses their anger[,] they will then bring pressure on legislators and governors,” Gingrich wrote.
In another email, Gingrich was in touch with Meadows as well as White House counsel Pat Cipollone about how they could seek to influence electors,
“Is someone in charge of coordinating all the electors? Evans makes the point that all the contested electors must meet on [D]ecember 14 and send in ballots to force contests which the house would have to settle,” Gingrich wrote in a Nov. 12 email.
Trump would go on to pursue a plan of challenging electors, both by submitting what his own team dubbed “fake” elector certificates and also by pressuring former Vice President Mike Pence to buck his ceremonial duty to certify the election.
The panel notes that shortly after Congress resumed its process of certifying the electoral count on Jan. 6 once those efforts failed, Gingrich contacted Meadows at nearly 11 p.m.
“[A]re there letters from state legislators about decertifying electors[?]”
“Accordingly, you appear to have been involved with President Trump’s efforts to stop the certification of the election results, even after the attack on the Capitol,” the committee wrote.
A spokesman for Gingrich did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The letter is a sign the committee has no intention of slowing its investigation, dropping the revelation just weeks before Congress is set to return to Washington and the panel can resume its planned slate of continued hearings.
“The committee is also interested in other communications you may have had with the White House, President Trump, the Trump legal team or any other persons involved in the events of January 6th. We ask that you preserve all records of such communications,” they added.
The letter is not a subpoena, and the request seeks only a “voluntary transcribed interview” the week of Sept. 19 rather than a formal videotaped deposition.
Gingrich is far from the only high-ranking Republican sought by the panel, which has formally subpoenaed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and four other Republican lawmakers. Panel members have also said they are still weighing whether to ask for cooperation from Pence.
— Updated at 7:44 p.m.