Rep. Trey Gowdy is going out with a bang.
The South Carolina Republican has long been a favorite of conservative commentators, thanks to a no-holds-barred approach to grilling witnesses that befits a former prosecutor who’s nicknamed the “Bulldog.”
But as he gets ready for retirement from Congress after four terms, he’s making it clear he’s got no intention of going quietly — even if his message is being distorted.
The latest example of that came this week, when part of a Gowdy interview with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum was making headlines in outlets opposed to President Donald Trump. Gowdy downplayed Trump’s claims that the FBI had been “spying” when it engaged an informant to snoop around possible Russian contact with the Trump presidential campaign.
And if all a reader knew about the story came from the headlines of most mainstream media and liberal outlets, he or she could be forgiven for thinking Gowdy had consigned Trump and his administration to the pits of hell for eternity.
But a wider look at Gowdy’s take on the “Russian collusion” investigation shows something else that’s considerably different — and it demonstrates just how hysterical the Democrat/media treatment of the whole 2016 election investigation has been.
Gowdy, the outgoing chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, told MacCallum that a meeting he had last week with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein left him convinced that Trump is not now — and never has been — the target of the FBI’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the presidential campaign.
Gowdy’s statement came in response to MacCallum’s question about why the FBI failed to use a “defensive briefing” to inform Trump that it had an “informant” working in the campaign.
“I think defensive briefings are done a lot, and why the (James) Comey FBI didn’t do it, I don’t know,” Gowdy said. “But Chris Wray and Rod Rosenstein have at least made it clear to us (that) Donald Trump was never the target of the investigation. He’s not the current target of the investigation.”
“Keep in mind, that can all change depending on what a witness says, but as of now, I think Chris Wray and Rod Rosenstein are stunned whenever people think Trump is the target of their investigation.”
Gowdy added that his meeting with Wray and Rosenstein only strengthened his belief that Trump was never the subject of an FBI probe.
“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,” he said.
There’s obviously a little hyperbole here. Wray and Rosenstein are not stupid men — and it would take a blockhead to be “stunned” that some Americans have swallowed an idea the mainstream media has been pushing continuously since Nov. 9, 2016.
And if that idea turns out to be a fabrication, if even special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation concludes that “Russian collusion” really did have nothing to do with Trump, the FBI, the media and the Democratic Party will be left looking like fools. Even more importantly, the greater American public will likely end up seeing the president as the target of a disinformation campaign bigger than anything the country has ever seen. (And that’s already starting anyway.)
So, Gowdy’s real point is deadly for Democrats, even if the mainstream media has deliberately overlooked it to trumpet the fact that he disagrees with Trump about “spygate.”
But that’s a matter of semantics more than reality. (Check out the way the CBS “This Morning” hosts tried to bait Gowdy into calling Trump a liar.)
Gowdy was a career prosecutor before going into politics. He’s worked with “informants,” he knows law enforcement employs “informants” and he’s comfortable calling such people “informants.” He’s got a prosecutor’s precision with language, and he’s entitled to call things the way he sees them.
Trump — and a good many other Americans — has another word for a man who deliberately approaches a political campaign under a false pretense while hiding the fact that his actual goal is obtaining information and feeding it to the government.
It’s called a “spy.” And that’s one thing media distortion isn’t going to change at all.
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