Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said during an interview airing Sunday that the previously classified memo alleging abuse of government surveillance powers by the Justice Department has no impact on the ongoing Russia probe.
During an interview on CBS’s “Face The Nation,” Gowdy — the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee — was asked about the recent comments of President Trump, who claimed the memo “totally vindicates” him in the Russia probe.
“I’m sure the president is frustrated. You know, [Rep.] Adam Schiff [D-Calif.] prejudged the investigation before we interviewed the first witness,” Gowdy, a former prosecutor, said during the interview.
“So I’m sure that that instructs some of what he said. I actually don’t think it has any impact on the Russia probe for this reason.”CBS’s Margaret Brennan pressed Gowdy on whether he believes the memo has “no impact on the Russia probe.”
“Not to me, it doesn’t — and I was pretty integrally involved in the drafting of it,” Gowdy, who recently announced he will not seek reelection, said.
“There is a Russia investigation without a dossier. So to the extent the memo deals with the dossier and the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] 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.”
He added that the dossier has “nothing to do with George Papadopoulos‘s 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,” he said.
The memo, released Friday, accuses senior Justice Department officials of improperly using information from the so-called Steele dossier to obtain surveillance warrants on Carter Page, a member of the Trump transition team and former Trump campaign adviser.
Republicans have seized on the memo’s release, saying it proves the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Moscow, led by special counsel Robert Mueller, is tainted by bias.
But it also says the Russia investigation was triggered by information the bureau obtained about Papadopoulos, a former adviser to the campaign, rather than by Page.
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are pushing to release their own memo rebutting the GOP document.