The House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol is seeking information from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who remains an influential figure among Republican politics and a close ally to former President Donald Trump.
But when asked by a reporter at the Capitol on 22 September whether he has any thoughts about the committee’s work, Mr Gingrich said “I think you have a learning disability.”
“Excuse me?” NBC News congressional reporter Scott Wong replied.
“The fact is – I said three or four times, I don’t talk about it,” Mr Gingrich said.
“You don’t seem to–,” the former GOP congressman added while pointing to his head. “Try the phrase: I don’t talk about it.”
His apparent insult comes as the House committee seeks Mr Gingrich’s cooperation in its ongoing probe into the events leading up to and surrounding the attack on 6 January, 2021. Mr Gingrich is among hundreds of people sought by the committee for witness testimony.
The committee told Mr Gingrich in a letter on 1 September that the panel obtained emails he reportedly exchanged with Mr Trump’s advisers about television advertisements that amplified baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him, a narrative that fuelled a mob of Mr Trump’s supporters to breach the halls of Congress.
Fmr. Speaker Gingrich tells me, “I think you have a learning disability,” and points to his brain after I asked him what he thought of the Jan. 6 committee earlier today pic.twitter.com/NmCyayhqMJ
— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) September 22, 2022
“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,” committee chair Bennie Thompson wrote to Mr Gingrich.
Advertising efforts “were not designed to encourage voting for a particular candidate,” according to Mr Thompson.
“Instead, these efforts attempted to cast doubt on the outcome of the election after voting had already taken place,” he wrote.
The advertisements told people to pressure election officials to overturn results as electors convened to cast their formal votes in the presidential election weeks after millions of Americans cast their ballots.
Mr Gingrich also appeared to be involved in the former president’s apparent scheme to appoint fake electors to reject Joe Biden’s certification, and that Mr Gingrich reportedly emailed then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows about such efforts the evening of the attack.
An email allegedly sent by Mr Gingrich said that “the goal is to arouse the country’s anger through new verifiable information the American people have never seen before” which would “bring pressure on legislators and governors.”
At 10.42pm on 6 January, Mr Gingrich reportedly wrote to Mr Meadows: “[are] there letters from state legislators about decertifying electors[?]”
The committee will resume public hearings on 28 September, its first following a series of eight blockbuster hearings with bombshell witness testimonies this summer.
Committee members anticipate Wednesday’s hearing will be their last.
The Independent has requested comment from Mr Gingrich through his consulting firm.