Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich responded to news Robert Mueller is forming his legal team, saying that he fears that “they’re setting up to go after Trump.” A former FBI director, Mueller was appointed last week by the Department of Justice to lead the investigation into supposed ties between Donald Trump’s political campaign and Russian officials.
Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” the veteran Republican said on June 11, “This is going to be a witch hunt.” He added, "I think this is going to be a witch hunt. I think that Comey, by his own testimony, tainted this particular process."
Gingrich tweeted on June 9 that Mueller’s probe should be shut down, while claiming that it is not truly independent.
Fox News host Chris Wallace said to Gingrich, "I want to speak to you about something else, though, and I want to start with the - your tweet that I discussed earlier with Republican Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. Here it is up on the screen again. 'Republicans need to focus on closing down independent counsel because it clearly isn't independent.' What's your reasoning and wouldn't that really look like an obstruction of justice?"
Gingrich responded, "Well, first of all, look at what Comey said. Comey said, I deliberately leaked, through an intermediary, to create this counsel, who happens to be one of his closest friends. Then look at who Mueller's starting to hire. I mean these are people that, frankly, look - look to me like they're - they're setting up to go after Trump. They've - including people, by the way, who have been reprimanded for hiding from the defense information into major cases. I think this - this is going to be a witch hunt. I think that Comey himself, by his own testimony, tainted this particular process. You have a director of the FBI deliberately leaking in order to create a special counsel, who we're now supposed to believe is going to be this neutral figure. I think that's just nonsense."
Later in the show, Gingrich warned, "The special counsel in the [George W.] Bush era locked up a New York Times reporter [Judith Miller] for 85 days to get her to testify, and she later writes a book about that she later said was a lie. That she did it under enormous pressure. I distrust an independent counsel. I think the people Mueller is bringing in are dangerous people. And any Republican who thinks this counsel is going to be neutral is crazy. It would be like expecting the New York Post or the New York Times to be accurate."
On Friday, Gingrich said that in view of former FBI Director James Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee that a special counsel to investigate Trump's supposed ties to Russia officials is no longer necessary.
Reflecting divisions within the Republican party, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., told “Fox & Friends” on Monday that Mueller just “wants to get to the truth.” Kinzinger said on “Fox & Friends” that he disagrees with Gingrich’s approach to Mueller. “That’s the wrong answer,” he said, calling Mueller a “good American that wants to get to the answers.” Kinzinger said on CNN on Monday that it is "hard to tell" who to believe between President Trump and former FBI Director James Comey. "It's hard to tell, and that's why we need every iteration of information that's going to include Comey, if [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions testifies tomorrow, that's going to be essential, Robert Mueller's investigation," Kinzinger said on CNN when asked if he believes Comey's statements on his interactions with Trump, or the president's statements.