Politics

Trump ‘Has Every Right’ to Be ‘Deeply Frustrated,’ Gingrich Says

Former House speaker insists the attorney general has 'absolute authority to fire the entire Mueller team'

President Donald Trump “has every right” to be “deeply, deeply frustrated” with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ “failure” to “exercise leadership” on special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, according to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

“Imagine you’re the president. You’re looking out here and you’re saying, ‘Let me get this straight. The FBI lied to the FISA court judge, the CIA may have deliberately set up the FBI, and I have an attorney general who doesn’t have the toughness needed to start cleaning out the snake pit?'” Gingrich said Wednesday during an “America’s Newsroom” interview on Fox News.

“I think the president has every right to be deeply, deeply frustrated at the failure of his attorney general to exercise leadership,” Gingrich added.

Trump caused a fresh firestorm Wednesday when he took to Twitter to rail against Mueller’s “Rigged Witch Hunt” investigating allegations of collusion between Trump campaign officials and Russian interests during the U.S. 2016 presidential election.

Sessions also incurred Trump’s wrath in a pointed tweet.

“This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further,” Trump tweeted. “Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!”

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“Russian Collusion with the Trump Campaign, one of the most successful in history, is a TOTAL HOAX,” Trump added. “The Democrats paid for the phony and discredited Dossier which was, along with Comey, McCabe, Strzok and his lover, the lovely Lisa Page, used to begin the Witch Hunt. Disgraceful!”

Trump and his supporters have long complained about the biases they see within Mueller’s probe and the events leading to its creation. But many of the president’s critics claimed Trump’s tweet about Sessions provided proof of “obstruction of justice.”

Others pointed to a July article in The New York Times reporting that Mueller was investigating Trump’s tweets for evidence of pressuring Session to end the probe, presumably in the context of a possible obstruction of justice charge.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, tweeted in response to Trump, “The President of the United States just called on his Attorney General to put an end to an investigation in which the President, his family and campaign may be implicated. This is an attempt to obstruct justice hiding in plain sight. America must never accept it.”

But Gingrich defended Trump, noting that the president won’t fire the attorney general because “the Senate would go crazy” and “about a third of the Republicans would go crazy and you’d be back in a kind of Watergate environment.”

“So I think President Trump’s far better off to endure this — publicly be angry, but endure it,” Gingrich said. “But on the other hand, if Jeff Sessions wanted to as attorney general, he has the absolute authority to fire the entire Mueller team.”

Related: Trump Calls on Sessions to End ‘Witch Hunt’ Mueller Probe

Although Gingrich admitted that he initially believed Mueller “was a very respectable guy” upon his appointment as special counsel, he said that revelations in recent months have changed his mind.

“And then I watched him hire these 17 lawyers that Trump is talking about,” Gingrich said. “This is a disgraceful, one-sided witch hunt by a bunch of left-wing Democrats, and it is compounded because we have learned since then about [former FBI Director James] Comey, we’ve learned since then about [former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe], we’ve learned since then about [FBI agent Peter] Strzok.”

Gingrich said “every time we turn around” the American people learn “more things that indicate that the sickness in the Justice Department and the senior levels of the FBI was very real.”

“I think it should scare everybody,” Gingrich warned. “You have the power of the police being that corrupt. You have huge dangers for freedom in America.”

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