Accusations that the firing of Special Counsel Bob Mueller would provoke a "constitutional crisis" have percolated since the release of the long-anticipated "FISA memo" two days ago, as at least one House Republican has said he will push for a probe into "abuses" and possible"treason" by several senior DOJ officials.
But increasingly, some of the White House's most steadfast political allies have played down the memo's impact, with Chief of Staff John Kelly saying he thought House Intel Committee Chairman Devin Nunes' claims were overblown. And now, South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy - who has presumably been freed to speak his mind after announcing his retirement from Congress - is saying he doesn't expect the memo to impact the Mueller probe.
Gowdy, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, was asked about Trump's claim that the memo "totally vindicates" him in the Russia probe. As Trump's political allies so often must do, Gowdy tried to sanitize the leader of his party's comments by saying Trump was probably just "frustrated" by House Intel Committee ranking member Adam Schiff "prejudging" the investigation.
"I'm sure the president is frustrated. You know, Adam Schiff prejudged the investigation before we interviewed the first witness," Gowdy, a former prosecutor, said during the interview.
"So I'm sure that that instructs some of what he said. I actually don't think it is has any impact on the Russia probe for this reason."
Asked to clarify whether he believes the memo will have an impact on the Russia probe, Gowdy probably surprised his interviewer when he answered "not to me it doesn't".
As Gowdy explains, the "Trump dossier" has nothing to do with Don Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower, it doesn't apply to a certain email sent by Cambridge Analytica to Wikileaks, and it has nothing to do with George Papadopoulos.
"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...so there's going to be a Russia probe even without the dossier."
The memo accuses senior Justice Department officials of improperly using information from the dossier to obtain FISA Court surveillance warrants on Carter Page, a member of the Trump transition team and former Trump adviser. Democrats and the FBI has blasted the memo as misleading, and Democratic leaders have demanded that Nunes step down as head of the Intel Committee, while preparing to release their own memo...
Watch the full Gowdy interview below
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In a tweet following the interview, Daily Caller reporter Chuck Ross pointed out two tidbits of news that Gowdy let slip: First, that the Steele Dossier was politically motivated was mentioned in a footnote of the original Fisa application. Second, he has never personally met President Trump...
Trey Gowdy w/ two tidbits of news in @FaceTheNation interview: 1.) the disclosure that dossier was politically motivated was contained in a footnote in FISA application; 2.) he has never met President Trump.— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) February 4, 2018