WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) today backed House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy’s (R-S.C.) defense of the FBI last week after sitting in on a classified briefing about oversight of the FBI’s campaign-season investigation into Russia’s influence operation and possible Trump campaign contacts.
“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,” Gowdy told Fox News a week ago.
Some House GOPs sought information on a confidential FBI source who, during the investigation into possible campaign ties to a foreign power, spoke with Trump campaign aide Carter Page, Trump campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis and campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to investigators in October and has been cooperating with special counsel investigators. The source has been identified as a professor living in London who had been providing the FBI with information on a variety of cases for many years and did not work on the campaign.
President Trump has interpreted the existence of the source as the FBI planting a spy in his campaign, according to his many recent tweets on the subject. Before the Memorial Day recess, the FBI, DOJ and Director of National Intelligence agreed to hold a briefing with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Gowdy, as well as another meeting with the “gang of eight” congressional intelligence leaders plus Gowdy. Ryan received a separate briefing because he couldn’t make the “gang of eight” meeting.
Asked about Gowdy’s thoughts at a news conference on Capitol Hill today, Ryan replied that he “normally” doesn’t like to comment on classified briefings, but “let me say it this way: I think Chairman Gowdy’s initial assessment is accurate.”
“I think — but we have some more digging to do. We’re waiting for some more document requests. We have some more documents to review. We still have some unanswered questions. It would have been helpful if we got this information earlier. As Chairman Nunes said just the other day, if we got all the information we were looking for, we could wrap this up faster,” he added.
“But I have seen no evidence to the contrary of the initial assessment that Chairman Gowdy has made, but I want to make sure that we run every lead down, and make sure we get final answers to these questions.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told Fox News on Sunday that “you have to remember that Mr. Gowdy loves the FBI and the Department of Justice.”
“Mr. Gowdy, under what he’s heard, he believes the FBI was doing the right thing. And you know what could solve this? For almost a year now, we’ve been waiting for documents from the deputy attorney general,” Nunes said. “Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein could provide all the documents, all the information we need this week, and we could write a report by Friday.”