South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy appeared on CBS Face the Nation today with Margaret Brennan to discuss the recently released “Nunes Memo." Rep. Gowdy serves on the House Intelligence committee and was tasked by Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes to help draft the memo.
The memo claims that authorities improperly used what is now known as the “Steele Dossier” to gain permission to surveil Trump associate, Carter Page. That dossier was at least in part funded by the Democratic National Committee. It is questionable whether the government should grant warrants to the FBI based on paid opposition research.
In terms of consequences of that memo, Rep. Gowdy said the “Nunes Memo” really has no impact on the Russian investigation, saying that the probe would have occurred regardless of the dossier. The Russian Investigation, headed by special Counsel Robert Mueller, is investigating whether or not President Trump or members of his campaign colluded with Russian operatives to rig the 2016 presidential election in his favor.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Saturday, President Trump tweeted that the memo "totally vindicated Trump" in the Russia probe. We sat down earlier with South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy, a key House Intelligence investigator and asked him if he thought the president had been vindicated.
REP. GOWDY: I actually don't think it has any impact on the Russia probe for this reason --
MARGARET BRENNAN: The memo has no impact on the Russia probe?
REP. GOWDY: No-- not to me, it doesn't -- and I was pretty integrally involved in the drafting of it. There is a Russia investigation without a dossier. So to the extent the memo deals with the dossier and the FISA process, the dossier has nothing to do with the meeting at Trump Tower. The dossier has nothing to do with an email sent by Cambridge Analytica. The dossier really has nothing to do with George Papadopoulos' meeting in Great Britain. It also doesn't have anything to do with obstruction of justice. So there's going to be a Russia probe, even without a dossier. (emphasis added)
Gowdy also addressed opponents' concerns about the content of the memo. The South Carolina congressman said he understood Democrats such as Adam Schiff were upset that certain pieces of information were missing from the GOP memo, but Gowdy said he hopes that they are equally concerned that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act would allow the court to grant warrants based on paid-for opposition research.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, the FBI was gravely concerned that there was information missing from this memo that it actually was dangerous in setting a precedent in terms of disclosing classified information, and it could actually hurt future intelligence efforts. How do you respond to that, and to Chris Wray?
REP. GOWDY: Difficult facts make for really bad precedent. I hope this is a one-off. I hope it is a one-off that Congress takes this position, but I also hope it's a one-off that a FISA application contains errors and-- and-- and product that is funded by a political opponent. I hope that that's a one-off. So--
MARGARET BRENNAN: That's the Steele dossier that you are pointing to there.
REP. GOWDY: But-- but it's--it's both the Steele dossier, and who paid for it, and whether or not it was vetted, but it's also what was not in it. This is an application to a court. So, I get that Adam Schiff and others are worried about what's not in my memo. 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. That is all information that the-- that the finder of fact is entitled to. (emphasis added)
Long praised as as defender of truth and the constitution by GOP and liberals alike, Rep. Gowdy announced last week that he will be retiring from Congress. He told Brennan that he is tired of political gamesmanship at the expense of the truth, saying, "The process matters. The end does not justify the means. And in politics, it's just about winning. And-- and I-- I can't-- I don't want to live like that."