If President Donald Trump was hoping a controversial intelligence memo critical of the FBI’s handling of the Russia investigation would discredit the probe, he didn’t convince South Carolina’s Trey Gowdy.
A member of the U.S. House intelligence committee, Gowdy told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the memo released Friday would not effect the investigation into ties between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.
“I actually don’t think it has any impact on the Russia probe,” said Gowdy, R-Spartanburg. “Not to me it doesn’t, and I was pretty integrally involved in the drafting of it.”
Critics of the investigation say the memo, drawn up by intelligence committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-California, shows the warrant for FBI surveillance of former Trump aide Carter Page was based on a dossier of opposition research into Trump’s 2016 campaign that was partly paid for by the Democratic National Committee.
Trump has tweeted that the memo “totally vindicates” him in what he calls the “Russian Witch Hunt.”
But Gowdy says the investigation was not dependent on the dossier.
“The dossier has nothing to do with the meeting at Trump Tower,” he said, “the dossier has nothing to do with an email sent by Cambridge Analytica. The dossier really 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 is a Russia investigation without the dossier.”
Gowdy also said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has been overseeing the Russia investigation, should not be fired by Trump. Rosenstein signed off on at least one extension of the FBI’s surveillance of Page.
“I don’t judge people based on a single decision that they make throughout the course of an otherwise really stellar career,” Gowdy said, but added “The president has not sought my counsel on this.”
Gowdy recently announced he will not run for re-election this November.
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