(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and a member of the intelligence committee, said he understands President Trump’s frustration with the Russia investigation, but “Donald Trump was never the target of the investigation. He is not the current target,” Gowdy told Fox News’s Martha McCallum Tuesday night.
Gowdy said the FBI, in launching its Trump-Russia probe, was doing exactly what President Trump said he wanted them to do:
I think there are two things important to understand. Number one, the source of President Trump’s frustration. (Former CIA Director John) Brennan said he should be in the dust bin of history. (Former FBI Director James) Comey said impeachment’s too good of a remedy. (Former Director of National Intelligence James) Clapper doesn’t like him. (Former Attorney General) Loretta lynch said call it a matter, not an investigation. (Ranking member of the House intelligence committee Adam) Schiff said he had evidence of collusion before we even began the investigation, and 60 Democrats have voted to impeach him before Bob Mueller has come up with a single, solitary finding. That’s what has him frustrated.
What should have him heartened is the fact that Chris Wray, Rod Rosenstein and all the senior folks at DOJ now were all Trump appointees. So here’s what’s fair to ask. What did the FBI do? When did they do it? What was the factual predicate upon which they took whatever actions they took and against whom were they directed?
But, remember, Martha, it was President Trump himself who said, number one, I didn’t collude with Russia but if anyone connected with my campaign did, I want the FBI to find that out. It looks to me like the FBI was doing what president trump said I want you to do — find it out. He’s not the target. So, when Schiff and others don’t make that clear, they are doing a disservice to our fellow citizens. He is not the target.
In his May 2017 interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, President Trump said he never asked former FBI James Comey to drop the investigation into alleged Trump-Russia coordination. “Look, I want to find out if there was a problem with an election having to do with Russia,” Trump told Holt. “Or by the way…anybody else. Any other country. And I want that to be so strong and so good. And I want it to happen.”
But that has all changed. President Trump is now demanding an investigation into the investigators, whom he accuses of bias and spying.
In one of his many tweets over the Memorial Day weekend, President Trump railed against “spies…all over my campaign,” and he asked why the FBI and Justice Department didn’t “contact me to tell me of the phony Russia problem.”
“I think defensive briefings are done a lot,” Gowdy said on Tuesday night. “And why the Comey FBI didn’t do it, I don’t know. But Chris Wray and Rod Rosenstein have at least made it clear to us, Donald Trump was never the target of the investigation. He is not the current target of the investigation. Now, keep in mind that can all change depending on what a witness says.
“But as of now, I think Chris Wray and Rod Rosenstein are stunned whenever people think Trump is the target of their investigation. I will leave it up to them how to brief the president.”
Gowdy said after his classified briefing with top FBI, Justice Department and intelligence officials last week, “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 also seemed to be warning the president to dial back on his many furious tweets:
“I think any time you create prior statements, you give Mueller or other folks a chance to question you on them and ask what was your factual basis. Why did you say that? The president should have access to the best legal minds in the country. And I think he should take advantage of those. And he has got some really good communicators that are on his staff and at his call. If I were his lawyer, and I never will be, I would tell him to rely on his lawyers and his comms (communications) folks.”
Gowdy said he thinks everyone, including the president, would want to know what Russia did before the election in 2016.
“I think when the president finds out what happened, he is going to be not just fine, he is going to be glad that we have an FBI that took seriously what they heard — he was never the target. Russia is the target.”
Gowdy also believes that President Trump, “if you have done nothing wrong,” should agree to speak with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
“You’ve told us publicly there was no collusion. You’ve told us publicly there was no obstruction. Say in private what have you said publicly. Limit the scope to exactly what the Mueller memo is, but if he were my client, and I would say if you have done nothing wrong, then you need to sit down and tell Mueller what you know,” Gowdy said.