Key Architect of HPSCI Memo Says Process Matters and Supports Mueller’s and Congressional Probes

By Karen O’Connor Rubsam

Rep. Trey Gowdy, one of the key authors of the HPSCI memo on abuses in the Intelligence Agencies was interviewed by Margaret Brennan in a 20-minute long segment of “Face the Nation” which aired on Sunday, February 4, 2018.  As a key player in this process, this interview is receiving significant attention with many news sources quoting segments of the interview that “fit their narrative.” While it would be preferable to view the interview in its entirety, what follows is a thoroughly quoted summary of the interview:

  • Gowdy stated that he didn’t think the memo “has any impact on the Russia probe for this reason – There is a Russia investigation without a dossier. 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.”
  • Gowdy stated that he was “pretty integrally involved” in the drafting of the memo – at one time referring to it as “my memo.”
  • Gowdy stated that “I have tremendous respect for the bureau. There are 30,000 employees. Let’s assume that there are five that engaged in conduct that we have questions about.” He found Andrew McCabe to “be a professional witness even though I disagree with some of the decisions he made.  Even if he has “differences with the way they discharge their responsibilities, Gowdy thinks “Chris Wray and Rod Rosenstein can effectuate” necessary changes at the FBI and DOJ.
  • At the same time, Gowdy reiterated his support for Congressional oversight, “Congress is the one who created FISA. In fact, Congress created the FBI. So there’s going to be good– good branch tension. It doesn’t mean someone should lose their job, it doesn’t mean they’re corrupt. But it also doesn’t mean Congress is not legitimate in asking these questions, because I think we are.”
  • Gowdy “never met President Trump. Never had a conversation with him, and he certainly should not ask my hiring advice.”
  • Regarding the dangerous precedent set by releasing the memo, Gowdy said, “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.”
  • His key issues with the FISA application were, “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.”
  • It is his belief that the FISA warrant would not have been authorized were it not for the dossier. The “judge doesn’t do independent research”
  • Gowdy explained that, “There are three Republicans that have seen every bit of information. Three of us: Bob Goodlatte, the chairman of the Judiciary; Johnny Ratcliffe, who’s a former terrorism prosecutor and U.S. attorney in Texas, and me. All three of us have total confidence in the FBI and DOJ to be able to do the jobs that they have been assigned. We have confidence in Bob Mueller, and we have serious consideration– serious concerns about this process. So, we have all three of those things in common, including being concerned about what–what happened in 2016.”
  • Gowdy said that “we’ll never know” if the surveillance of Carter Page was justified. His questions for the FBI and DOJ are: “if you had enough on Carter Page with just him, why did you include something that the National Enquirer might not run? And why did you cite a newspaper article when there’s no court in America that allows a newspaper article to be considered as evidence? If you had enough without it, why did you use it?”
  • Gowdy said that it would concern him if the President makes a move to dismiss Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, BUT he also stated that he thinks it is “fair to ask the deputy attorney general what did you know at the time you signed one of the applications. I think it is fair to ask what FISA reforms are you going to implement to make sure we don’t have this fact pattern come up again.”
  • Gowdy again stated that, he has “seen no evidence of collusion between President Trump and the Russians or his campaign and the Russians.”
  • Gowdy asked his “fellow citizens” to separate (1) the Mueller investigation and the “potential criminality as evidenced by the Papadopoulos plea and the Flynn plea,” (2) the Congressional investigation “into what Russia did in 2016,” and (3) “the use of the dossier and– and the failure to tell the–the FISA court all relevant material facts.”
  • In responding to Devin Nunes’ reported remarks of “another memo, Gowdy said, “I think what Devin said is there’s a phase two of the investigation. And there is– we do have concerns with a certain aspect of State Department involvement and have serious concerns about it.  It’s not been public yet. So I– I– I think what Chairman Nunes meant is there’s–there’s another aspect to the investigation. But if there’s a second memo, I don’t know about it.”
  • Regarding his recently announced decision to retire, Gowdy said, “whatever time I’ve got left — I want to spend it in the justice system because that’s where my heart is, and that’s where my interests– I see multiple sides of a single issue. And the fact that someone disagrees with me, does not make me challenge their love of the country. It doesn’t make me believe that they’re corrupt. I’ve got a lot of friends on the other side of the aisle. We disagree on this issue, but– but I don’t question their love for the country and I don’t– I– I just– I don’t think the end justifies the means. I think the manner in which we get places matters, and in politics too often winning is the only thing that matters. And look, every hero I have has lost. Every one of them. So losing is not the worst thing in the world. Not knowing what you believe and not caring enough about it to fight for it? That’s the worst thing in the world.”
  • In describing the difference between the justice system and politics, Gowdy said, “It’s about winning in politics, and that is not what– the courtroom– there’s a reason we throw out search warrants even though we find the murder weapon. There’s a reason we throw out confessions even though we think the person did it. 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.

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