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Tamar Hallerman

Newt Gingrich edging closer to Donald Trump as VP announcement nears

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Newt Gingrich, right, political pundit and once Speaker of the House, behind Donald Trump during a campaign rally at the Sharonville Convention Center in Cincinnati, July 6, 2016. Gingrich's appearance at the event is the latest audition in what some observers feel is Trump?s reality television-esque process for picking a presidential running mate. (Ty Wright/The New York Times)

Newt Gingrich, right, behind Donald Trump during a campaign rally at the Sharonville Convention Center in Cincinnati on July 6, 2016. (Ty Wright/The New York Times)

With each passing day, Newt Gingrich appears to be growing closer to Donald Trump. And with the clock before the Republican convention ticking and the billionaire’s short list of potential running mates getting shorter, the odds are seemingly increasing that the former Georgia lawmaker could end up at Trump’s side.

The former House speaker has recently been settling in as Trump’s new political attack dog.

Gingrich devoted an entire Facebook Live session yesterday to trashing Hillary Clinton and the Justice Department’s decision not to press charges against her for using a private email server when she was secretary of state.

This “fits a pattern of corruption that we see over and over again with Hillary Clinton,” Gingrich said.

“This was a big step towards collapsing our system so that it resembles Venezuela and other places where the rule of law has disappeared. It’s a big step towards weakening America.”

An intriguing Washington Post dispatch, meanwhile, shows the extent to which Gingrich has been helping Trump shape his messaging as of late, down to a Disney-themed tweet mocking the response to a recent post that critics said used a Star of David from a white supremacist website:

“That was a very deliberate reopening of the same conversation,” Gingrich said in an interview Thursday. “He has concluded that you guys in the media will kill him unless he destroys your credibility. Guaranteeing that the media is not believable is a significant building block of this campaign, as important as showing that Hillary Clinton is corrupt.”

Gingrich campaigned with Trump for the first time on Wednesday in an event that was widely viewed as a test run for the VP slot.  Trump has been demure about whether he’d select the former lawmaker as his running mate but did promise at that rally in Ohio that “in one form or another, Newt Gingrich will be part of our government.”

Trump is expected to announce his selection by next week.

One report in the New Jersey Star-Ledger on Thursday seemingly offered good news for Gingrich. Citing two unnamed sources advising the Trump campaign, the newspaper reported that the chances of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, widely seen as one of Gingrich’s biggest competitors for the VP slot, being picked was “highly unlikely.”

Read more: Gingrich is a top contender for Trump’s VP