September 15, 2017

Rep. Trey Gowdy’s comments about Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ attack on former FBI Director James Comey once again suggest that the Clinton-hating, Benghazi fanatic is not a huge fan of the Trump administration.

As Media Matters has outlined, “The White House is engaged in a coordinated attack on James Comey that [Sean] Hannity and Trump’s lawyer have been pushing for months.”

The White House is pushing for legal action against fired FBI Director James Comey as “something that certainly should be looked at,” claiming that Comey provided “false testimony” in his appearance before Congress. On his radio show with President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow as a guest, Fox News personality Sean Hannity celebrated this recent push that was indicated from the White House briefing room on September 11, saying that press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeated “pretty much everything I’ve been saying and I think [Sekulow has] been saying as it relates to Comey.” Since June, Sekulow has regularly appeared on Fox News and Hannity’s radio show to demand that legal action be taken against Comey.

Now, in another turn of the vicious cycle, Fox is promoting the White House attack. During an interview with Gowdy today, a lower-third banner read, “WH: PRETTY CLEAR COMEY BROKE FEDERAL LAW.”

But it may be significant that Gowdy, who chairs the powerful House Oversight Committee and sits on the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees does not seem to be on board with that effort.

Appearing on Fox’s America's Newsroom today, Gowdy was asked by anchor Bill Hemmer if Comey had broken the law.

Gowdy could have said politely that it was a matter for the Department of Justice to investigate and determine. But you didn’t need a magnifier to read the criticism of Sanders between the lines:

GOWDY: Well, Bill, if it’s that clean and clear, I’m sure she’s referred it to the Department of Justice. After all, President Trump hand-picked Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general. So if the evidence is as clear as the press secretary says it is, I’m sure that matter is already in Jeff Sessions’ office.

HEMMER: Well, with regard to that, she said, I’m quoting now, “The Department of Justice has to look at any allegations, whether or not something’s illegal or not, that’s not up for me to decide.”

GOWDY: (laughing) She’s right about that.

HEMMER: Do you know if she referred it or not ?

GOWDY: I have no idea. Bill, this is what I do know. Alleging criminal violations is very serious which is why I do not do it. Press secretaries don’t get to make that call. Members of Congress don’t get to make that call. Reporters don’t get to make that call. That’s an executive branch function. After an investigation a charging decision is made by a career prosecutor. So if you have evidence of a crime, instead of sharing it with a gaggle of reporters, share it with the people who can actually do something about it. That would be my advice.

That doesn’t mean Gowdy is still painting himself as quite the Comey fan he was the last time I saw him on Fox News. Gowdy said cautiously that he thought Trump had cause to fire Comey, even if it did take “a long time to settle on those reasons” and “some of the reasons they cited initially weren’t all that good.” But Gowdy went on to say that he’s “very interested” in having Comey come before Congress and explain why “he made up his mind not to charge Secretary Clinton before he interviewed her” and, possibly, before interviewing “the last dozen witnesses.”

What’s noteworthy about this, since I doubt many of our readers care much about what Gowdy thinks, is that an influential House Republican is making it clear he’s not walking in lockstep with the Trump administration, especially with regard to the effort to discredit Comey. Yet it's possible Gowdy merely wants to fight the war on Comey on a different front. Gowdy is a general in the Republican attack on the Steele dossier (whose allegations about Trump and Russia triggered the Russia investigation) and the party’s plan to use it to discredit Comey and the Russia investigation.

But if the Steele-related documents sought by the House validate rather than discredit the Russia investigation, I’m putting down Gowdy, who will undoubtedly play an influential role in the outcome, as a wild card and not a knee-jerk Trumper.

See why I think so above, from the September 14, 2017 America's Newsroom.

Originally published at

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