Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) ripped into the media for their "hyper-focus" on Russian collusion and into Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee for making "baseless, reckless accusations" against President Donald Trump. Gowdy's comments came Tuesday night during an interview with Fox News' Tucker Carlson.
"I have lost track of the point of all this," Carlson said. "What is the point of this investigation just to remind those of us who are following at home?"
"Well, Tucker, the hyper-focus on collusion is not Congress's fault," Gowdy responded. "I would say folks in your line of work have been focused on collusion much more than certainly Republican members of the House. There are four things that we're looking at: Russian active measures, which a subset of that would be collusion, the U.S. response, back in 2016, which has nothing to do with Trump, that's an Obama administration response; and then importantly, the leaks and the unmasking, which have everything to do with the re-authorization of certain surveillance programs.
"So there are four things that the House Intel Committee is looking at," he continued. "One of those involves Russian active measures, and a subset of that would be collusion, not just between Mr. Trump and the Russians, but any American and the Russians.
"So the hyper-focus on collusion, on conspiracy and coordination is not mine," he explained. "I'm interested in all four tranches."
"When will we know what happened?" Carlson asked. "When will this wrap up, do you think?"
"When the last witness is interviewed, and that is a legitimate criticism," Gowdy responded. "I was ready months ago, there are only six members of the House Intel Committee that are conducting the witness interviews. Only six, so it's not the whole committee. I was ready two months ago to start interviewing witnesses, we are slowly beginning to do that, we have another one tomorrow."
"My goal, our goal, is to have this done, in a perfect world, before Labor Day," he said. "We've interviewed everyone because keep in mind, if we don't interview every witness, then some skeptic is gonna say the one witness you did not interview is the one that has all the knowledge.
"So you have to interview everyone," Gowdy concluded. "And then at the end, you can discuss what evidence exists, or does not exist."
"There's clearly a political agenda here, and I'm not flacking for the Trump administration," Carlson said. "Obviously, the president's hurt himself, with his grotesquely counter-productive tweeting on the subject. But as a factual matter, there is a political agenda here. An ax being grounded by Democrats. And doesn't that kind of color the whole investigation and make it less useful for the public's perspective?"
"Well, it certainly may, the congressional part," Gowdy admitted. "I think [special counsel] Robert Mueller has a long distinguished career that is essentially apolitical, and I think that people are going to be able to have confidence in the outcome of that investigation.
"With respect to Congress, we have tendency to politicize almost everything, Tucker, and you're exactly right," he continued. "There are members of both the House and the Senate, who talk about — here's my favorite. 'I've seen evidence that's more than circumstantial but not direct, which by the way is tautological, there's no way it can be more than circumstantial but not direct."
"Right," Carlson agreed.
"And then one of the members of the committee said this week that he has seen evidence," Gowdy continued. "He can't tell us what it is, it's not beyond a reasonable doubt. There's no way to defend yourself against those kind of baseless, reckless accusations, so ultimately, the public will have confidence in Robert Mueller's investigation.
"Whether or not they have confidence in Congress's investigation depends on how responsible we are and how we frame the issues," he concluded.
Gowdy's assertion that the American public can have confidence in Mueller's disinterested objectivity is decidedly contradictory to the opinion of the Trump administration and many of his allies. They assert that Mueller is hiring biased lawyers for the investigation based on their record of donations to Democrats, and that he was much too friendly with former FBI Director James Comey to be fair to Trump.