By Jon Dougherty
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich viciously mocked critics of President Donald Trump after he claimed in an interview with ABC News‘ George Stephanopoulos over the weekend that former President Obama “must have known” about the ‘Spygate’ operation to frame him for “colluding with Russia” and drive him from office.
Asked to comment about the president’s statements, Gingrich was relentless in his criticism of Leftists and Democrats who are blasting the president for stating what the former Speaker says is pretty obviously factual.
“I think this whole episode…if you come up to the big picture is close to insane,” the former Georgia Republican began. “You want to suggest to me that the attorney general has a private meeting with former President Clinton on an airplane in Phoenix for I think 45 minutes and the current sitting president, Barack Obama, doesn’t know about it?”
Gingrich was referencing a meeting between then-AG Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton which took place about a week before the FBI interviewed his wife and then-Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, Obama’s first secretary of state, as part of the bureau’s probe into her criminal mishandling of classified emails.
The former Speaker speculated that it would be highly unlikely for Obama to have picked up a newspaper and read about the suspicious encounter without phoning Lynch for an explanation.
“Now, Barack Obama is a really smart guy,” Gingrich said. “He’s was also sort of a control freak. Do you think the FBI said, ‘Oh, we’re gonna go get a FISA warrant…in order to investigate an American presidential campaign — and nobody thought to mention to the incumbent current president?
“You think that his national security adviser [Susan Rice] asked to unmask [reveal the identities] the largest number of Americans ever requested of the National Security Agency, and the president of the United States sitting down the end of the hall didn’t know about it?” Gingrich continued.
“Only in Washington could the media put up these walls and pretend that Barack Obama must have been innocent,” he said.
Gingrich also noted that then-Vice President Joe Biden, now seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, “might have, might not have known about” Spygate. “But Obama’s really, really smart, and I think it’s virtually impossible that all this stuff went on, and he wasn’t in some way informed.”
The Georgia Republican also said he “didn’t know” if the impending reports from the Justice Department inspector general and others working on the origins of Spygate will fully reveal who knew about the operation and who was ultimately involved.
But, he said, eventually all of the information would find its way into the public square.
“Over time, slowly, grindingly, lots of stuff comes out that smart people thought they could keep secret,” he said.
He also noted that the real scandal involving Obama and the Clintons began years ago when their foundation was receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from foreign — and especially Russian — interests, and Hillary was approving the Uranium One deal that gave control over one-fifth of all U.S. reserves of the strategic mineral used to manufacture nuclear weapons to Moscow.
That included Bill Clinton receiving millions in speaking fees from Russian interests as well.
“Everything from that point on has been wild,” said Gingrich. “I think if you were President Trump just sitting there, you would be going, ‘Give me a break.'”
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10
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