Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said Thursday that if Democrats attempt to subpoena President Donald Trump’s tax returns after the midterm elections, the Republican party can find out if the bitter nomination battle of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was “worth it.”
Gingrich, a Republican who served in the House for two decades, was speaking at a live event with The Washington Post on Thursday when moderator Karen Tumulty asked if the fight over Kavanaugh was worth the political fallout. The judge faced a chorus of opposition after he was accused by several women of sexual misconduct during his time as a student in high school and college, claims he vehemently denied. He was ultimately confirmed this month in a slim 50-48 vote.
When Tumulty asked what would happen if a Democratic-controlled House demanded Trump’s tax returns, the former lawmaker alluded that the Kavanaugh fight was political from the outset and that the justice could be a key ally to help protect the president should that happen.
“This is a billionaire who has fought lawsuits his entire career and he’s never noticed them. He doesn’t care. That’s why he has lawyers. So they can come at him from 100 levels ― he’ll just hire 100 lawyers,” Gingrich said. “I don’t think he has any fear of the Democrats.”
He added that if the House requested Trump’s tax returns, the party would then “be trapped into appealing to the Supreme Court, and we’ll see if the Kavanaugh fight was worth it.”
Democrats have reportedly been studying ways to obtain the president’s tax returns as the prospects of the party winning the House have crystalized. The New York Times reported earlier this month that lawmakers may try to use an obscure, century-old provision in the tax code to do so, but the demand may set up a legal fight that would likely make its way up to the Supreme Court.
Gingrich has been a staunch ally of the president, but also said Thursday that he believes House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will likely become the chamber’s next speaker, putting the odds at “two out of three.”
“I would say, first of all, Nancy Pelosi is a very smart, very tough person who has earned her position by just brute hard work, by applying her intelligence and by applying a network that has sustained her for a long time,” Gingrich said. “Anybody who thinks they’re going to outmaneuver her is up against somebody who has spent literally her lifetime… she’s been in this business forever.”
Democrats need to pick up 23 seats in the November elections to take control of the House.