U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy is not impressed with some of the media’s coverage of the congressional probe into the FBI’s handling of matters related to the 2016 presidential election.
Over the long Christmas weekend, the S.C. Republican said hours-long testimony given by the FBI’s deputy director, Andrew McCabe, to the U.S. House Intelligence Committee has been mischaracterized. McCabe spoke to the committee about the FBI’s investigations into Hillary Clinton’s handling of private email when she was secretary of state and Russia involvement in the 2016 presidential election.
Fueled by criticisms by President Donald Trump, McCabe has come under pressure after two FBI officials were dismissed from special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s team that is looking into whether Trump and his associates colluded with Russia to secure the presidential win.
“These were interviews, not ‘grillings,’ “ Gowdy said of his committee’s interview of McCabe. “Never once was the witness ‘attacked.’ Never once was special counsel Mueller ‘undermined.’ I’ve never expressed ‘dissatisfaction’ with any of his (McCabe’s) answers, publicly or privately, because his answers are just that — his answers.”
House Republicans had asked McCabe to answer what communication he had with FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, dismissed from Mueller’s investigation over the summer after it was revealed the pair exchanged text messages critical of the president.
One text message mentioned a meeting in “Andy’s office,” where it was discussed “that there’s no way” Trump would be elected but “we can’t take that risk,” Bloomberg News reported.
Some also have criticized McCabe for overseeing the investigation into Clinton’s private email account even though his wife, Jill, received $700,000 in donations from Democratic political groups when she unsuccessfully ran for a Virginia state Senate seat in 2015.
“How can FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin' James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife's campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?” Trump tweeted Saturday.
Gowdy said McCabe was asked fair questions during the House hearing and his answers were thorough. “He handled himself professionally as did the members of Congress who attended.”
“I realize none of this makes for gripping headlines about out of control inquiries, heated exchanges, subplots to undermine ongoing investigations, or casts him in a negative light. It just happens to be accurate,” Gowdy said. “I was present for nearly every minute of his two interviews. Those ‘reporting’ on his two interviews were not present for a single minute of either interview.”
McCabe was appointed deputy director of the FBI in 2016 and became acting FBI director when Trump fired James Comey this summer. McCabe reportedly will retire early next year.