Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus'

Former Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Conway spars with Wallace on whether White House will cooperate with impeachment inquiry after formal vote Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' MORE (R-S.C.), the onetime chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, defended the use of private congressional hearings and said he instead took issue with the leaks from the House’s impeachment proceedings. 

CBS’s Margaret Brennan on Sunday played a clip of Gowdy in 2018 describing public House hearings as a “circus” and a “freakshow.” She then asked Gowdy whether he still believed that.

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“One hundred percent,” Gowdy said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” adding, “I’m a rule follower. I threw a Republican out of a hearing because he was not a member of the committee. If you’re going to have private investigations with unlimited time for questioning and cross-examining witnesses, that’s a good thing.”

“What’s not a good thing is to have selective leaks where you pick one sentence out of an eight-hour deposition,” Gowdy said.

“There were no leaks with [former special counsel Robert] Mueller,” he added, whereas House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Trump rails against FBI, impeachment during Pennsylvania rally Democrats reach cusp of impeachment MORE (D-Calif.) “uses an opening statement to give a parody” and “lies about a whistleblower.”

Brennan pressed Gowdy on testimony by diplomats that the White House had conditioned aid to Ukraine on investigations of interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Trump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field Trump supporters at Pa. rally 'upset' after Democrats introduce impeachment articles MORE’s son and asked whether that conduct constituted an impeachable offense.

Gowdy responded that there was nothing improper about investigating election interference, saying, “If a Democrat did that, we’d be adding something to Mount Rushmore.” In response, Brennan noted that allegations that the Democratic National Committee’s hacked server is currently in Ukraine have been debunked.