Gingrich: All 'real evidence' of Russian influence points to Dems

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday that all the “real evidence” of Russian interference in the presidential election points to Democratic collusion. His charge came one day after President Trump tweeted that the “phony Russia story” is “a total scam!”

“It is ironic that all of the real evidence of real money and real influence-buying relates to Democrats,” Gingrich said on Fox New’s “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo.”  

“There is no evidence that anybody was being purchased on the Republican side.”

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Gingrich, a trusted Trump adviser, added that Russian interference in U.S. elections “may have helped Democrats far more than Republicans” in the past.

Gingrich cited the brother of Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWarren policy ideas show signs of paying off Biden at campaign kickoff event: I don't have to be 'angry' to win Top Dem: Trump helps GOP erase enthusiasm gap; Ohio a big problem MORE’s campaign chairman John Podesta as an example, saying Tony Podesta is a “registered agent for a Russian bank.”

President Trump seized Monday on Gingrich’s comments about Tony Podesta, asking in a tweet whether Podesta worked on behalf of the Russian government to get U.S. economic sanctions on Russia lifted.

Podesta’s company, the Podesta Group, acknowledges it worked with the Russian-owned bank, but the D.C.-based lobbying firm dismisses reports it worked to lift sanctions on Russia. It said it had a standard, 6-month contact with Sberbank USA from March to September 2016. 

David Marin, a spokesman for the Podesta Group, said the group's role was to clarify whether a U.S.-based affiliate of the Russian bank would be affected by U.S. sanctions on the Kremlin.

“Fake news. An attempt to distract. Our work for Sberbank USA was never about getting sanctions lifted. It was simply about helping to clarify to what extent our client, the US subsidiary, was subject to sanctions. We confirmed they were not,”  Marin said Monday.

Trump has frequently assailed allegations of possible collusion between his associates and Moscow as a smokescreen intended to compensate for Clinton’s unexpected loss in November.

Gingrich on Sunday urged Congress to examine all of Russia’s efforts and involvement to subvert elections both in the U.S. and abroad, rather than narrowly focusing on possible Russian ties to President Trump’s associates.

 “… The committees, beyond my understanding, are narrowly defining what this investigation is about. It should be about the degree to which the U.S. was penetrated by efforts to corrupt our society and to purchase influence,” he said.

The House and Senate intelligence panels are probing the Russian election meddling and any ties between members of Trump's campaign and Moscow. This week, former national security adviser Michael Flynn offered to testify in the ongoing probes in exchange for legal immunity.

But Gingrich dodged questions Sunday about whether there needs to be a special investigation into the ties or if the Senate Intelligence Committee should take the lead, as questions swirl about House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’s independence from the White House.

“There is no crime here, I don’t know what the crime would be, and a zero question of crime by the Trump people,” Gingrich said. 

Gingrich also slammed the news media for being in a “frenzy” and a state of “hysteria” since Trump took office, reasoning that the left-wing media is targeting the White House by peddling the possible Kremlin-Trump connection. 

Updated 2:49 p.m. Monday