Rep. Trey Gowdy on Sunday said he is “reluctant” to call for another special counsel to examine how the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation and President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.
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“I think we’re trending perhaps towards another special counsel because of this unique fact pattern and the fact that there are witnesses outside the reach of the inspector general,” Gowdy, R-S.C., told Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures.”
The comments come on the heels of reports that the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, will likely criticize former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for reportedly approving an improper leak about the Clinton probe to The Wall Street Journal in 2016, in a highly-anticipated report that began more than a year ago and is expected to be released in the coming weeks.
“I want to know everything that happened in 2016 and whether Andy McCabe was leaking for or against Hillary Clinton,” Gowdy said, regarding the report. “I think it’s important for all of us to know.”
The South Carolina Republican, who announced in late January that he would not seek reelection in 2018, said he is confident that Horowitz will conduct a “fair” and “fact-centric” investigation, citing the inspector general’s ability to find the missing text messages between anti-Trump FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page in late January.
“I think Michael Horowitz is uniquely well-suited to put all public’s fears at ease with a thorough, fact-centric investigation,” Gowdy said.
Last Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department – with Horowitz at the helm – is examining allegations of government surveillance abuse, following the release of a controversial memo authored by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., which includes claims of improper surveillance techniques used by the DOJ and the FBI to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. A day later, Trump took to Twitter to slam Sessions for asking Horowitz to investigate the matter.
“Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!” Trump tweeted.
Sessions, however, held his ground and responded to the tweet in a statement, saying that the investigation would continue and that the DOJ has “initiated the appropriate process that will ensure complaints against this Department will be fully and fairly acted upon if necessary.”
"As long as I am the Attorney General, I will continue to discharge my duties with integrity and honor, and this Department will continue to do its work in a fair and impartial manner according to the law and Constitution,” the attorney general added.
Gowdy, who said he wishes Trump and Sessions would communicate more privately, as opposed to publically through Twitter, said lawmakers are struggling with the probe into FISA abuse.
“Congress has proven itself incapable of investigating this FISA abuse,” he said. “DOJ should not be looking into it. We need an independent arbiter that’s either the inspector general or special counsel.”