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Terry H. Schwadron

May 31, 2018

I was pleased finally to hear from Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, who had been among the few Repbublicans at first, then the Gang of Eight from both parties, to get a look at the FBI’s work to start asking questions of people involved in the Trump campaign about Russian contacts.

Essentially, Gowdy who is retiring this year, is the first GOP lawmaker briefed on the informant to directly rebut Trump and his allies regarding the surveillance claims.

Gowdy is important because he is a prosecutor, a tough investigator, and, while generally a defender of the president, able — in my view — to separate himself from loyalty to call them where they fall. Gowdy was the one behind the never-ending Benghazi probes of Hillary Clinton, of course.

So when Gowdy said that the the FBI had acted appropriately when it used an informant to gather information about Trump campaign advisers who allegedly had suspicious contacts linked to Russia before the 2016 election. He told Fox News, “I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got, and that it has nothing to do with Donald Trump.”

I would have thought that for Gowdy, of all people, to find that the crazy attacks by Trump and surrogate Rudy Giuliani on “Spygate” would be sufficient to rebut the arguments as off-base. Unfortunately, not so: The president continued at a rally Tuesday night to tell thousands that his campaign was targeted by Democrats and a corrupt FBI/Justice Department for special pestering that had nothing to do with fact-finding, and everything to do with helping his political opponent.

Gowdy maintained the FBI was simply following Trump’s orders when it investigated his campaign’s ties to Russia. “President Trump himself in the [former FBI Director James] Comey memos said, ‘If anyone connected with my campaign was working with Russia, I want you to investigate it,’” Gowdy said. “Sounds to me like that was exactly what the FBI did.”

It’s been Gowdy who, throughout the separate take that House Republicans have taken about the need to investigate the investigators, has provided the actual legal meat for the arguments. It is Gowdy who actually has read all the documents, who has found potential weaknesses in Justice Department filings for secret FISA court warrants, and who attended last week’s classified DOJ briefingalongside other top lawmakers.

So Gowdy has stood up, finally, and said that the president is selling applesauce, not substance. Congratulations to him. There will be a lot more such honesty needed from Gowdy’s Republican colleagues before all this is over.

Just to be crystal clear, I don’t know what Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III has found, or will find, and I’m not rooting for impeachment, particularly. I want an honest, straight-up accounting for what seems to be an ever-deepening and complex amount of shenanigans in the campaign involving the Russians. Mostly, I want guarantees that all sides care about an honest outcome.

Gowdy has said he is retiring this year out of frustration with Washington politics.

Meanwhile, Trump has ratcheted up his attacks against the Russia investigation, the Justice Department and the FBI in response to the revelation. He repeatedly has claimed the agency “infiltrated” and “spied” on his campaign under the orders of President Barack Obama, and he demanded that the Justice Department investigate the accusations and turn over any relevant documents to Congress.

But Gowdy maintained the FBI was simply following Trump’s orders when it investigated his campaign’s ties to Russia.

“President Trump himself in the [former FBI Director James] Comey memos said, ‘If anyone connected with my campaign was working with Russia, I want you to investigate it,’” Gowdy said Tuesday on Fox News. “Sounds to me like that was exactly what the FBI did.”

Gowdy faulted Democrats, however, for not specifying that Trump isn’t the target of the investigation. “This had nothing to do with Donald Trump.”

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said the FBI acted appropriately when it used an informantto gather information about Donald Trump campaign advisers who allegedly had suspicious contacts linked to Russia prior to the 2016 election.

“I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got, and that it has nothing to do with Donald Trump,” Gowdy said Tuesday during an interview on Fox News.

Gowdy faulted Democrats, however, for not specifying that Trump isn’t the target of the investigation. “This had nothing to do with Donald Trump.”

Gowdy last week attended a classified DOJ briefingalongside other top lawmakers regarding the informant and the tactics the FBI had used during the 2016 campaign.

Trump has ratcheted up his attacks against the Russia investigation, the Justice Department and the FBI in response to the revelation. He claimed the agency “infiltrated” and “spied” on his campaign under the orders of President Barack Obama, and he demanded that the Justice Department investigate the accusations and turn over any relevant documents to Congress.

Of course, Trump also continued to blame The New York Times for making up a source who is an actual real human who works in the White House and who briefed a group of reporters about readiness over North Korea. And Trump is insisting that Democrats are to blame for actions on the border that his administration has been taking to separate children from immigrating families.

Gowdy shows us that it is perfectly possible, reasonable even, to take a different interpretation from facts that are presented, separating and preserving the right to partisan political views from actual legal investigation.

Perhaps the president should listen to him.

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terryschwadron.wordpress.com

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Journalist, musician, community volunteer

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