The Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee says he does not agree with President Trump’s assertions that special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election is a “witch hunt.”
“I don’t think it’s a witch hunt. I’ve never thought it was a witch hunt,” Rep. Trey Gowdy said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“Russia attacked this country in 2016. That’s the number one thing we’ve asked Mueller to look at — what did Russia do,” the South Carolina Republican said.
He said no Americans have yet been indicted for conspiring to affect the 2016 elections, but his focus is on what Russia did.
“And that’s not a witch hunt. That’s an attack on our country,” Mr. Gowdy said.
Mr. Trump is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday in Helsinki, Finland, just days after the Department of Justice announced an indictment stemming from Mr. Mueller’s probe that accuses a dozen Russian military officers of stealing Democratic Party emails and trying to influence the 2016 elections.
Mr. Gowdy said Mr. Trump’s first request of Mr. Putin should be to “tell us which airport we can pick up the 25 Russians that tried to interfere with the fundamentals of our democracy.” A previous indictment accused 13 Russians of using social media to sow divisions in the U.S.
“If you really claim you had nothing to do with it that you should be as shocked as we were that your military was being used to impact our election,” Mr. Gowdy said. “Tell us where you’re going to extradite those folks because an American grand jury indicted them for undermining our democracy.”
Appearing Sunday on ABC News, National Security Advisor John Bolton downplayed the notion that Russia could extradite any of the dozen military officers named in the new indictment, pointing out that the U.S. doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Russia.
Mr. Gowdy also said there is “absolutely” an anti-Trump bias within the FBI. His committee recently heard testimony from FBI agent Peter Strzok, who has come under fire for sending anti-Trump messages during the 2016 campaign.
The congressman also mentioned former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom Mr. Strzok exchanged some of the messages and with whom he was having an extramarital affair.
“Now, how pervasive it was beyond those two — I think there are four or five other unidentified bureau and department agents and employees who also had bias,” Mr. Gowdy said. “But there are 13,000 FBI agents and 99.9 percent of them are doing exactly what you would want them to do and exactly the way you would want them to do it.”
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