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Newt Gingrich Plays Goebbels for Trump in Insane Attack on Justice Department and Mueller

By       Message Steven Rosenfeld       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

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Gingrich smears the DOJ's mission as a leftist vendetta.

From flickr.com: Newt Gingrich {MID-146515}
Newt Gingrich
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The Trump administration, which has been caught lying hundreds of times and continues to ceaselessly attack the media, sunk to new lows Tuesday as former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich launched an attack worthy of Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.

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Gingrich, who has never shied away from verbal jousting, held forth on NPR's Morning Edition in an outrageous, eight-minute attack on the federal Department of Justice, smearing the DOJ as a "left-wing" institution bending laws and abusing its authority to destroy lives. He said the lawyers who are overseeing the special counsel investigating the 2016 Trump campaign's ties to Russia are all Democrats, as evidenced by donations to institutions supporting that party.

Gingrich glossed over the fact that special counsel Robert Mueller is a Republican -- as NPR host Rachel Martin interjected -- and countered that the DOJ is filled with Trump-hating career staffers. He said Mueller's first hires included lawyers who were "killers," predicting they would stop at nothing to convict Trump associates of fake crimes.

Gingrich's assault did not merely seek to delegitimize the ongoing investigation of the Trump campaign's ties to Russia -- which may bleed over into Trump's business deals with Kremlin-connected Russians. It was also an attack on the DOJ's mission, writ large, which includes enforcing anti-corruption laws -- which Gingrich fully knows, being the first Speaker of the House ever fined while in office for ethical breaches ($300,000 in 1997).

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While Gingrich plays the part of the loyal foot soldier to Trump, his attack fits the administration's pattern of seeking to delegitimize critics in the press and the government who do not embrace Trump's far-right agenda. Gingrich's attacks intentionally distort the DOJ's mission, the basis of Mueller's role and the legitimacy of the Trump-Russia probe. The purportedly anti-Trump lawyers he names all have Jewish surnames. Gingrich is vying to be Trump's attack-dog minister of propaganda. Goebbels would be proud.

Gingrich opened his attack by attacking the DOJ as a bastion of leftists, offering proof via guilt by association, which could be seen, he said, by the vast majority of their presidential campaign contributions going to Clinton.

"The Justice Department is an extraordinarily left-wing institution," Gingrich began. "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 [2014] book, Licensed to Lie. And I think that he's [Trump] 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."

It's important to put Gingrich's remarks in context. He makes it sound like the DOJ's employees are uniquely anti-Trump. But as The Hill reported last October, employees at virtually every federal agency overwhelmingly gave to Clinton's campaign: from 84 percent of those making a presidential campaign donation at Defense; to 94 percent at the IRS; to 95 percent and above at Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Justice, State and Treasury. Why the pattern? Because federal employees want a pro-government president, academics told The Hill.

Nonetheless, Gingrich attacked the DOJ as uniquely anti-Trump, accusing Sessions of not "enforcing the law" by reeling in Mueller. When Martin countered that it's not the attorney general's job to protect the president, Gingrich launched his next distortion.

"What you just said has a misleading implication," he replied. "It is the attorney general's job to enforce the law... Andy McCarthy, who's a former Department of Justice prosecutor, who prosecuted the 1992 World Trade Center bombings, has said over and over again that there is no evidence of a crime. So what is Mueller investigating? This is a fishing expedition."

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Gingrich is name-dropping rabid right-wingers as authorities. Powell's 2014 book is an unabashed attack on the DOJ. McCarthy is an early critic of President Obama who in 2008 wrote for the National Review, "Obama's personal radicalism, including his collaboration with radical, America-hating Leftists, should have been disqualifying." But beyond citing blowhards whose views are championed on far-right websites like Breitbart.com, Gingrich is fundamentally twisting what a DOJ investigation does.

Martin rejected his "fishing expedition" frame, saying that police investigations pursue unanswered questions.

"That's not true," Gingrich replied. "You have no reason for appointing somebody with the power of the government if you have no evidence of a crime having been committed. It's very clear in the statute that governs this kind of appointment."

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Steven Rosenfeld  covers democracy issues for AlterNet. He is a longtime print and broadcast journalist and has reported for National Public Radio, Monitor Radio, Marketplace,  TomPaine.com  and many newspapers. (more...)
 

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