Newt Gingrich Says 'Pugnacious' Donald Trump Has 'Compulsion' To Counterattack

"I don't think it serves him well," the former House speaker adds.

President Donald Trump has a “compulsion” to counterattack when he’s under fire, and that’s not a good thing, Newt Gingrich said Sunday.

The former House speaker, discussing the “pugnacious” president on ABC’s “This Week,” said that Trump’s attack instincts don’t “serve him well.” In particular, Gingrich believes it was a mistake for Trump to respond in a tweet to The Washington Post report last week that cited unnamed sources and said Special Counsel Robert Mueller was investigating the president for possible obstruction of justice in firing FBI Director James Comey.

Trump called the probe a “witch hunt.” His tweet appeared to confirm that the president is a target of the investigation.

“Trump has a compulsion to counterattack, and is very pugnacious,” Gingrich said. “I don’t think it serves him well. I don’t think that tweet helped him.”

Still, the staunch Trump ally indicated he could sympathize with the president’s frustration. Trump “is infuriated, and legitimately, in my judgment, by this whole Russian baloney,” Gingrich told ABC’s Martha Raddatz.

Trump’s tweet concerning the Post report complained that he’s “being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director,” apparently referring to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who laid out Comey’s shortcomings in a memo. But Trump said in an interview on NBC after he fired Comey that he had made up his mind to do so before receiving the memo — in part because of “this Russia thing with Trump and Russia.”

On Sunday, Trump’s private attorney, Jay Sekulow, initially seemed to contradict the “witch hunt” tweet by his client, saying on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the president “is not and has not been under investigation for obstruction.” 

But Sekulow later appeared to change his tune on “Fox News Sunday.” He said that Trump “is being investigated for taking the action that the attorney general and deputy attorney general recommended him to take by the agency who recommended the termination.” Then Sekulow told host Chris Wallace that Trump “is not being investigated.”

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