Gowdy: Memo has no impact on Russia probe

Gowdy: Memo has no impact on Russia probe
© Greg Nash

Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyRepublicans tear into IG finding on Clinton probe Live coverage: Justice IG testifies before House on report criticizing FBI House GOP headed for showdown with DOJ over key documents MORE (R-S.C.) said during an interview airing Sunday that the previously classified memo alleging abuse of government surveillance powers by the Justice Department has no impact on the ongoing Russia probe.

During an interview on CBS's "Face The Nation," Gowdy — the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee — was asked about the recent comments of President TrumpDonald John TrumpConservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill Poll: McSally holds 14-point lead in Arizona GOP Senate primary Trump defends Nielsen amid criticism over family separations MORE, who claimed the memo "totally vindicates" him in the Russia probe.

"I'm sure the president is frustrated. You know, [Rep.] Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffWhite House faces growing outcry over migrant family policies Schiff: ‘Deeply disturbing’ that FBI gave Nunes confidential info on Clinton's emails Schiff: White House using migrant kids’ grief and tears to build border wall MORE [D-Calif.] prejudged the investigation before we interviewed the first witness," Gowdy, a former prosecutor, said during the interview.

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"So I'm sure that that instructs some of what he said. I actually don't think it has any impact on the Russia probe for this reason."

CBS's Margaret Brennan pressed Gowdy on whether he believes the memo has "no impact on the Russia probe."

"Not to me, it doesn't — and I was pretty integrally involved in the drafting of it," Gowdy, who recently announced he will not seek reelection, said.

"There is a Russia investigation without a dossier. So to the extent the memo deals with the dossier and the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] process, the dossier has nothing to do with the meeting at Trump Tower. The dossier has nothing to do with an email sent by Cambridge Analytica."

He added that the dossier has "nothing to do with George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosSenate staffer's indictment exposes the pitifully corrupt nature of Trump-Russia probe Hillicon Valley: Deal reached on ZTE, but lawmakers look to block it | New encryption bill | Dems push Ryan for net neutrality vote | Google vows it won't use AI for weapons Trump weighing roughly a half dozen new clemency cases MORE's meeting in Great Britain."

"It also doesn't have anything to do with obstruction of justice. So there's going to be a Russia probe, even without a dossier," he said.

The memo, released Friday, accuses senior Justice Department officials of improperly using information from the so-called Steele dossier to obtain surveillance warrants on Carter Page, a member of the Trump transition team and former Trump campaign adviser.

Republicans have seized on the memo’s release, saying it proves the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Moscow, led by special counsel Robert Mueller, is tainted by bias.

But it also says the Russia investigation was triggered by information the bureau obtained about Papadopoulos, a former adviser to the campaign, rather than by Page.

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are pushing to release their own memo rebutting the GOP document.

— This report was updated at 9:02 a.m.