Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) accused FBI Director Christopher Wray Thursday of being in “open rebellion” against President Donald Trump — by opposing release of the controversial memo detailing surveillance abuses and anti-Trump bias within the Justice Department. Gingrich made his remarks on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”
“If you want an example of the deep state, you apparently had the head of the FBI go to the White House with the deputy attorney general, make his case to the White House — they are his superiors in the executive branch — and get turned down,” Gingrich said. “He then goes back and apparently puts out a release — I mean, in effect it’s an open rebellion.”
“You have the director of the FBI putting out a release attacking the president for what the president apparently has decided to do because he didn’t listen to the head of the FBI,” Gingrich continued. “I mean, this is a level of bureaucratic deep state resistance that should be educational for every American.”
Gingrich warned that if the FBI were “to go rogue” in going against the president in such a fashion, it would constitute “a threat to the civil liberty of every American.”
“You’re under the law. You’re not above the law. You can’t go out here, have the president of the United States make a decision, and then you decide you’re going to fight him in public,” Gingrich said. “That breaks up the whole concept of an executive branch, and it’s clearly a violation of the Constitution.”
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence voted Monday to release the memo, giving the president five days to decide whether to allow release of the memo to the public. Although Trump reportedly plans to approve the document’s release, Wray urged Trump to withhold it, and then approved a statement claiming the FBI “was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo” and harbored “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
Wray reportedly is prepared to release a rebuttal if Trump chooses to approve the memo’s release.
Democrats vehemently objected to the memo’s release while many liberal media pundits warned that such a move would undermine government institutions, compromise national security interests and besmirch the FBI’s integrity.
Gingrich noted the media harbored a markedly different opinion when it came to the release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971 during the Vietnam War. There were thousands of pages of classified documents in the Pentagon Papers, which were first exposed by The New York Times.
“The Pentagon Papers were thousands and thousands of pages of secrets in the middle of a war. And the news media felt like it had a moral obligation to publish American secrets during a war,” Gingrich said.
“Now we turn around — where’s the demand from The Washington Post? Where’s the demand from The New York Times? Why aren’t they insisting that the American people have the right to know?”
Concerning the controversial memo, Gingrich claimed that “the real collusion was in the federal bureaucracy, not in the Kremlin,” which is a “chilling concept.”
“And that’s why I think that they’re trying to cover it up,” Gingrich said. “Because the case here is very simple: Did the [FBI] use tainted campaign material apparently paid for by the [Hillary] Clinton campaign as an excuse to a federal judge to have wiretaps on Americans during a campaign?”