Rep. Trey Gowdy has slammed the FBI for covering-up Hillary Clinton’s role in convincing a FISA court to spy on the Trump campaign.
The chairman of the House Oversight Committee said judges would never have authorized the repeatedly renewed warrant to spy on Trump officials had they known the FBI were relying on a Clinton-funded dossier compiled by Christopher Steele.
Washingtontimes.com reports: “They could have easily said it was the DNC and Hillary Clinton. That would have been really easy,” Mr. Gowdy told CBS’s Face the Nation, referring to footnotes in the agents’ request to the court. “It took longer to explain it the way they did, than if they just come right out and said, ‘Hillary Clinton for America and DNC paid for it.’ But they didn’t do that.”
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Mr. Gowdy was involved in drafting a four-page memo by the House Intelligence Committee that details the FBI’s decision to rely in part on Clinton-backed material to spy on Mr. Page in October 2016. It also explores the role of top Justice Department officials in renewing those snooping powers.
President Trump says the memo “totally vindicates” him, as he’s dogged by claims his campaign colluded with Russians in 2016.
Yet it’s kicking up a political firestorm, with Democrats chastising its lead author, Rep. Devin Nunes of California, for peeling back the curtain on the secretive U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and its sensitive processes.
They say the memo amounts to a misleading “hit job” designed to sow doubt about probes into the Trump campaign’s alleged interactions with Russian actors.
And they say it doesn’t reflect all of the material that went into the government snooping application.
That drew a rebuke from Mr. Gowdy.
“I wish that they were equally concerned about what’s not in the FISA application, which is a lot of really important information about the source, and its sub-sources, and the fact that he was hired by the DNC and the Clinton campaign, and the fact that he was biased against President Trump,” said Mr. Gowdy, who last week said he will return to the legal field instead of seeking re-election.
“I would argue it’s also somewhat unprecedented to rely on political opposition research to instruct and inform an application, and it’s really bad precedent and unprecedented to not tell a court that a source has this level of bias,” he said.
Mr. Gowdy said he hopes the revealing memo is a “one-off,” but he also thinks it’s important to detail how the FBIsought its snooping powers, since the judge “doesn’t do independent research.”
He is among top Republicans preaching caution, even as vocal conservatives say heads should roll at the FBI and Justice Department.
Mr. Gowdy said the probe into the Trump campaign by special counsel Robert Mueller goes far beyond the controversial memo.
“There is a Russia investigation without a dossier,” he said, rattling off a list of things outside of its scope, such as a mysterious meeting between a Russian lawyer and Trump officials at Trump Tower.
The GOP memo itself says the FBI dug into the Trump campaign after another one of its aides, George Papadopoulos, reportedly boasted in mid-2016 that Russia had dirt on Mrs. Clinton.
Democrats have warned Mr. Trump not to use the memo to go after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw renewals of the surveillance application and appointed Mr. Mueller, saying it would cross a red line — particularly in light of Mr. Trump’s firing last year of FBI Director James B. Comey.
As Mr. Gowdy himself noted, the GOP memo “doesn’t have anything to do with obstruction of justice.”