While other Republicans on Capitol Hill waited to see who would be caught up in Monday’s indictments in the long-running Russia investigation, South Carolina’s Trey Gowdy urged his colleagues to give special counsel Robert Mueller a chance.
“I would encourage my Republican friends, give the guy a chance to do his job. The result will be known by the facts, by what he uncovers,” Gowdy told Fox News Sunday, a day before the indictments were unsealed Monday. “The personalities involved are much less important to me than the underlying facts. I would say give the guy a chance to do his job.”
The Spartanburg congressman speaks from personal experience. A former S.C. prosecutor, Gowdy chaired the U.S. House of Representatives’ long-running investigation into the 2012 Benghazi consulate attack.
That process was criticized by Democrats – who saw it as an attack on their eventual presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton – just as some Republicans have criticized Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election as targeting President Donald Trump.
On Monday, Mueller unveiled indictments against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Manafort business partner Rick Gates on money laundering and conspiracy charges. It also was revealed that former Trump advisor George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty earlier this month to lying about his contacts with Russia.
Trump quickly worked to distance himself from the indictments. He tweeted Monday that the allegations against Manafort stemmed from his activities “years ago,” insisting there was “NO COLLUSION” between his campaign and the Russian government.
Trump also called on Mueller’s investigation to focus on “Crooked Hillary (Clinton) & the Dems.”
The one critical note Gowdy raised about Mueller’s investigation was that the indictments was reported over the weekend, before they were released formally Monday.
“The only conversation I’ve had with Robert Mueller was stressing to him the importance of cutting out the leaks with respect to serious investigations,” he said. “It is kind of ironic that the people charged with investigating the law and executing the law would violate the law and, make no mistake, disclosing grand jury material is a violation of the law.”