Trey Gowdy was caught altering documents in an attempt to frame Hillary Clinton, and now it appears that he might be trying another sleight-of-hand to aid and abet Trump and his alleged criminal conduct.
Trey Gowdy appears to have been swept up in the controversy surrounding Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Trump’s recent remarks in Helsinki, and recent revelations surrounding the arrest and indictment of Maria Butina, a Russian national with links to the National Rifle Association.
Gowdy seemed to suggest that American intelligence services heads should resign to protest Trump’s remarks in Helsinki, where he took the side of Russian President Vladimir Putin over that of American intelligence services, during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
Asked by Fox News host Brett Baier if he thought Trump was being manipulated by Putin, Gowdy responded:
I can tell you this, Bret, the president has access to every bit of evidence, even more than those of us on House Intel. And Will and I serve on Intel. He has access to Pompeo and Chris Wray and Dan Coats and Nikki Haley.
The evidence is overwhelming. It can be proven beyond any evidentiary burden that Russia is not our friend and they tried to attack us in 2016. So, the president either needs to rely on the people that he has chosen to advise him, or those advisors need to reevaluate whether or not they can serve in this administration.
Taken at face value, that does not necessarily seem to be a far-fetched suggestion. However, taken in the context of Gowdy’s well-known history of deception during his command of the Benghazi
investigation witch hunt, there is every reason to consider the idea that Gowdy is simply attempting another sleight of hand.
It is abundantly clear to anyone who has been paying attention that Team Trump are doing everything they can to disrupt the Russia investigation. They have actively engaged in a smear campaign against agencies and individuals: to include the FBI, Department of Justice, American intelligence agencies, Robert Mueller, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, etc.
Everyone has been expecting Trump to fire Robert Mueller or Rod Rosenstein for months as a means of shutting down the Russia investigation. Trump appears to have an equal interest in shaking things up with America’s intelligence services.
Imagine the scenario playing out the way Gowdy has suggested. Trump has the opportunity to replace the outgoing intelligence services heads with insiders who will “cover his back,” a task he has frequently stated that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is obligated to perform. And he doesn’t have to deal with any controversy over the vacancies as he did not have to fire any of them.
There is, of course, the possibility that Gowdy is simply afraid of Mueller and is attempting to outrun his investigation like he has been doing for the last few months.
I don’t presume to know what is happening in Trey Gowdy’s mind, no one can do so except for Trey Gowdy himself; and, were I to venture a guess – I would say that even he has no clue what is going on around him most of the time….
That being said, there does seem to be a clear shift in him the last few months that I can only ascribe to fear associated with past – as well as possible ongoing – misdeeds.
It was not that long ago that Gowdy was spearheading Republican efforts to discredit Hillary Clinton before and after she won the Democratic nomination for the 2016 election. Gowdy spent more than two and a half years of his life and $7.8 million doing his best to collect some dirt on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as Chair of the now defunct House Select Committee on Benghazi, which ultimately cleared Clinton of any wrong-doing.
Gowdy went to extremes on several occasions during that investigation, going as far as altering documents in an attempt to frame Secretary Clinton. And don’t take my word for it – his actions were confirmed by the CIA.
In November 2015, Maj. Bradley Podliska, a former investigator on the Benghazi committee staff, filed a lawsuit against Gowdy claiming, in part, that the committee’s investigation became singularly focused on Hillary Clinton and the Department of State. Then, in December 2017, it was revealed that Gowdy had used tax-payer funds to pay off Podliska. On Friday 01 December 2017, The Washington Post reported that “Gowdy used $150,000 in taxpayer dollars to settle” that lawsuit.
As late as December 2017, Gowdy was aggressively working to shut down the House-led investigation into the Russian scandal.
NBC News reported at the time that:
As House Republicans make the case for special counsel Robert Mueller to end his investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, they appear ready to bring their own intelligence probe to an end…. Gowdy told NBC News that it is in the public’s interest to finish as quickly as possible so that they can issue a final report. He accused Democrats of wanting to prolong their work for political reasons and even downplayed the significance of the committee’s work….
Suddenly, on 31 January 2018, Gowdy announced that he would not be seeking reelection – instead opting to return to the practice of law.
Words cannot adequately express my gratitude to the people of South Carolina for the privilege of representing them in the House of Representatives. The Upstate of South Carolina has an incredible depth and breadth of assets including numerous women and men capable of representing us. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to serve in the People’s House and-prior to Congress-to advocate on behalf of justice in our court systems.
I will not be filing for re-election to Congress nor seeking any other political or elected office; instead I will be returning to the justice system. Whatever skills I may have are better utilized in a courtroom than in Congress.
Days later, in what can only be described as an extreme pivot from his earlier support for Trump, Gowdy spoke out in support of Robert Mueller and his ongoing investigation.
Appearing on Sunday’s “Face the Nation,” [04FEB18] Gowdy spoke with CBS News White House and Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent Margaret Brennan in his first interview since he announced he would not be running for reelection in 2018.
Brennan asked Gowdy about Trump’s tweet on the morning of Saturday 03 February 2018 in which he claimed the Nunes memo “totally” vindicated him of any Russian collusion or obstruction of justice.
Gowdy responded: “I would say this – I am sure the president is pretty frustrated. Adam Schiff prejudged the investigation before we interviewed the first witness… I don’t think it [the memo] has any impact on the Russia investigation.”
“I was pretty integrally involved in the drafting of [the memo]” Gowdy continued, adding: “There is a Russia investigation without a dossier. So to the extent the memo deals with the dossier and the FISA 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. 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. So there is going to be a Russia probe even without the dossier.”
Gowdy also went on the record stating that he fully supported Robert Mueller and his Russia probe:
“I am on record as saying I support Bob Mueller one hundred percent,” Gowdy said, later adding “You need an investigation into the Trump Tower and the Cambridge Analytica email, separate and apart from the dossier. So those are not connected issues to me. They may be for other Republicans, but they’re not for me. I say investigate everything Russia did, but admit that this was a really sloppy process…”
He also stated that he did not think that Trump should fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, telling CBS News that he has had a “really stellar career.”
There have been numerous other examples of Gowdy appearing to defend Mueller’s investigation and Rosenstein’s continuance as Deputy Attorney General. And, of course, there is Gowdy’s appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” detailed above.
Again, there is no way to know what he is thinking, but it seems reasonable to infer – at the very least – that Gowdy is afraid of Mueller; and there is every reason to consider the possibility that he would attempt a slight-of-hand to influence how things play out in regards to Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election.
Time will tell, but in the meantime – Robert Mueller continues to expand his investigation and indictments continue being handed down. Paul Manafort is scheduled to begin the first of his two criminal trials this week, the likelihood of Michael Cohen flipping on Trump increases, no one knows yet what information Michael Flynn has divulged to investigators as part of his plea deal, the list goes on and on…