Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., posited that House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., inserted sensitive information in his FISA memo knowing the Trump administration would have to make redactions purely, so he could score political points against the president.
Gowdy, who is chairman of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and a member of the House Intelligence Committee, also strongly implied Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal played a key role in feeding information to the State Department that was used to justify the FISA warrant to surveil the Trump campaign.
“I think the Democrats are politically smart enough to put things in the memo that require either the (FBI) or the Justice Department to say it needs to be (redacted),” Gowdy told Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum on Tuesday night. “Therefore, it creates this belief that there’s something being hidden from the American people.”
“Keep in mind this is the same crowd that voted not to release our memo and voted not to gain a lot of this information over the last 12 months,” he added. “Unfortunately, we’re in an environment where you would include material that you know has to be redacted, and you know responsible people you know are doing to redact it just show that question will be asked.”
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that President Donald Trump is expected to declassify the 10-page Democrat memo, which the Intelligence Committee voted unanimously to release on Tuesday.
“Both Democrats and Republicans acknowledge that some classified information in the memo must not be made public, but Representative Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, raised concerns about Trump making ‘political redactions,’” according to The Times.
“That is, not redactions that protect sources or methods, which we’ve asked the Department of Justice and the FBI to do, but redactions to remove information they think is unfavorable to the president,” Schiff said on CNN. “That could be a real problem and that’s our main concern at this point.”
MacCallum questioned Gowdy about the importance of the infamous Trump dossier in obtaining the FISA warrant to surveil campaign adviser Carter Page, asking specifically if there was enough other material to obtain a warrant without.
Gowdy, who is a former federal prosecutor replied, “If you have enough without the dossier, then why did you include the dossier? If you have enough without the dossier, why did you, in your court filing, lead with the dossier? Lawyers don’t start with their weakest argument.”
The South Carolina representative also appeared to confirm that Clinton friend Blumenthal was one of the key sources in passing along information about Trump to State Department officials, who in turn passed it along to dossier author British spy Michael Steele, who then fed it to the media and the FBI. The FBI then used the dossier and media reports sourced by Steele in their FISA court warrant applications.
Fox News reported that last month Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., made a criminal referral regarding Steele to the FBI.
Gowdy told MacCallum he has seen the supporting documents sent with the criminal referral.
“I’m pretty troubled by what I read in the documents with respect to the role the State Department played in the fall of 2016,” the representative said.
“When you hear who … one of the sources of that information is, you’re going to think, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve heard that name somewhere before,'” Gowdy stated.
He continued, “I’m trying to think how Secretary Clinton defined him. She said he was an old friend, who emailed her from time to time.”
“Sidney Blumenthal?” MacCallum asked.
Gowdy answered, “That’d be really warm. You’re warm…yeah.”
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