House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy has been widely acclaimed as a leader in the Republican Party in the House. He has announced that he will not seek re-election this fall. The mere fact that he won’t seek re-election is evidence of his sanity.
In the fall of 2015, Hillary Clinton appeared before the Oversight committee for a daylong hearing, and as he released a report on the probe’s findings, Gowdy defended the investigation and faulted the Obama administration for lapses that led to the deaths in Benghazi. His examination of Clinton was direct, harsh, and revealing. He also questioned Director Comey about the lies told by Clinton.
After Gowdy announced he wouldn’t seek reelection the National Republican Congressional Committee praised him. Nikki Haley said:
“I always said the reason @TGowdySC was amazing at his job was bc he disliked politics so much. Trey, thank you for your impatience, sacrifice, and fight to make our country a more just place. SC and our country thank you for your service. I thank you for your friendship.”
Trump’s remarks regarding Gowdy have predictably been praise and criticism, depending on Gowdy’s remarks about Trump. Over the last two years, Trump has hailed Gowdy as a brilliant lawmaker before bashing him as a failure, and then embracing him once again.
Now, after years shouldering the House GOP’s weightiest and most politically explosive investigations, Gowdy had again become the subject of attack by Trump. This time, perhaps because he isn’t running for reelection he seems to have lost his Republican allies who in the past have sung his praises.
The retiring South Carolina Republican’s emergence as a critic of Trump’s conspiracy theory began Tuesday, when Gowdy went on Fox News to discuss his takeaway from a classified Justice Department briefing last week about Trump’s claims that Obama was responsible for embedding a spy into Trump’s 2016 campaign. Trump allies have described Gowdy as a gullible or clueless backer of the intelligence community. Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, labeled him “uninformed.” Another Trump-tied attorney, Victoria Toensing, said Gowdy “doesn’t know diddly-squat” about the particulars of federal investigations. And Fox News host Lou Dobbs tagged him a “RINO” — a term for a fake Republican.
Gowdy insisted that the FBI did not plant a spy in the Trump camp for political purposes. Rather, he said, the FBI appropriately deployed an informant to glean intelligence from members on the outer edge of Trump’s campaign. The FBI had received troubling evidence that those individuals had suspected ties to Russia, and the bureau was obligated to pursue those legitimate leads. Gowdy explained that the briefing, for only a select group of nine senior lawmakers of both parties, only bolstered his position.
“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.”
Trump allies have been pummeling Gowdy in recent days, branding him a gullible or clueless backer of the intelligence community. Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, labeled him “uninformed.” Another Trump-tied attorney, Victoria Toensing, said Gowdy “doesn’t know diddly-squat” about the particulars of federal investigations. And Fox News host Lou Dobbs tagged him a “RINO.”
Sean Hannity said that “Trey Gowdy doesn’t get it.” Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, father of White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, distributed a 950-word treatise Friday questioning Gowdy’s position. And Dobbs said Gowdy appeared to be auditioning for a job after he leaves Congress. “He’s drinking the Kool-Aid,” Giuliani said of Gowdy in a CNN interview, before saying Gowdy “screwed up” on Benghazi.