Gowdy: Trump 'missed a good opportunity' to stand up to Putin

Gowdy: Trump 'missed a good opportunity' to stand up to Putin
© Anna Moneymaker

Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyCongress must take the next steps on federal criminal justice reforms Lynch testimony marks final interview of GOP-led probe Comey defends FBI actions on Flynn in House interview MORE (R-S.C.) on Sunday criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpVeterans groups demand end to shutdown: 'Get your act together' Brown launches tour in four early nominating states amid 2020 consideration Pence on border wall: Trump won't be ‘deterred’ by Dem ‘obstruction’ MORE's handling of a closely watched summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying the U.S. leader "missed a good opportunity" to stand up to Moscow.

"The president missed, I think, a really good opportunity to distinguish the United States from any other country, but especially from Russia," Gowdy said on "Fox News Sunday."

Gowdy, the chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said that Trump needed to listen to his advisers and intelligence officials, who have repeatedly warned that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. If not, Gowdy said, those advisers would need to think twice about whether they can effectively serve in Trump's administration. 

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"The president either needs to rely on the people he has chosen to advise him or those advisers need to reevaluate whether or not they can serve in this administration, but the disconnect cannot continue," Gowdy said.

Gowdy's comments came days after the president returned from Helsinki, where Trump during a joint news conference with Putin challenged the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Moscow interfered in the 2016 election.

He also appeared to place blame on the U.S. for current tensions with Moscow — a notion that drew widespread criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike.

Trump later sought to reverse course, saying he misspoke when he said that he saw no reason why Russia would meddle in U.S. elections. He asserted he meant to say that he saw no reason why Russia "wouldn't" meddle in the elections.

Gowdy on Sunday criticized that clarification, saying that the president should not have had to correct himself in the first place.

"When you’re the leader of the free world, every syllable matters and you really shouldn’t have to be correcting it when you’re the president," Gowdy said.