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Biden mulls options including troop deployments as Ukraine-Russia crisis deepens – live

Newt Gingrich, a former House speaker and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, has stoked outrage by predicting members of the committee investigating the Capitol attack will be imprisoned if Republicans retake the chamber this year.

Newt Gingrich.

Newt Gingrich. Photograph: Tom Brenner/Reuters

One of two Republicans on the committee, Liz Cheney, said: “A former speaker of the House is threatening jail time for members of Congress who are investigating the violent attack on our Capitol and our constitution. This is what it looks like when the rule of law unravels.”

Gingrich made his name with scorched-earth opposition to Bill Clinton in the 1990s and ran for the Republican nomination in 2012. He is now a prominent supporter of Donald Trump, rightwing gadfly and adviser to House Republican leaders. He made his prediction on Fox News, for which he is a contributor.

Calling the members of the 6 January committee “wolves [who] are going to find out that they’re now sheep”, he said that if Republicans take Congress in November, “this is all going to come crashing down … they’re the ones who in fact, I think, face a real risk of jail for the kinds of laws they’re breaking”.

The 6 January committee has recommended criminal charges for the former White House adviser Steve Bannon and Mark Meadows, Trump’s final chief of staff. Both refused to comply with subpoenas.

Bannon has pleaded not guilty to contempt of Congress, a charge that carries a year in jail, with a trial set for the summer. The Department of Justice has not acted regarding Meadows.

Gingrich said: “You have, both with Attorney General [Merrick] Garland and this select committee on 6 January, people who have run amok … they’re running over people’s civil liberties.

“And what they need to understand is on 4 January next year, you’re going to have a Republican majority in the House and a Republican majority in the Senate. And all these people who have been so tough, and so mean, and so nasty are going to be delivered subpoenas for every document, every conversation, every tweet, every email.”

Gingrich also said the committee was “basically a lynch mob”.

Another member of the committee, the Democrat Zoe Lofgren, told CNN Gingrich’s comments were “just bizarre. I think Newt has really lost it. You know, it leaves me speechless.”

Alluding to Trump’s attempt to overturn his defeat in part through the Capitol putsch, Lofgren added: “I mean, unless he is assuming that the government does get overthrown and there’s no system of justice.”

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