Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), said on Tuesday in an interview with Fox News that Democrats may have purposely included classified or sensitive information in their memo countering the one drafted by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, (R-CA) and his staff, reports The Washington Examiner.
“I think the Democrats are politically smart enough to put things in the memo that require either the [FBI] or the Department of Justice to say it needs to be redacted. Therefore, it creates this belief that there’s something being hidden from the American people,” Gowdy, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told Fox News.
“Unfortunately, we are in an environment where you would include material that you know has to be redacted and you know responsible people are going to redact just so that questions will be asked,” Gowdy continued.
Gowdy, who recently declared that he is retiring after this year, said the Democratic memo does not “undercut” the document produced by Republicans on the panel that allegedly outlines abuses of power by the FBI under the Obama administration to apply for unjustified FISA warrants to surveillance former Trump campaign aid Carter Page.
The memo claims that the Trump dossier, compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele, was integral in the FISA application to spy on Carter, but the FISA court was not aware that Democrats and the Hillary Clinton campaign funded the dossier. However, Nunes conceded this week that there was a vague “footnote” that did mention the political strings attached to the memo.
“A little bit of it is also just creating so much dust and cloud that people just give up and say, ‘Well you’re saying x and you’re saying y.’ I’m just going to tune out,” Gowdy said of the Democratic memo.
But the South Carolina Republican stopped short of alleging a conspiracy by law enforcement agencies to undermine President Trump’s campaign and administration “when simple incompetence will suffice as an explanation.”
.@TGowdySC: “I never allege a conspiracy when simple incompetence will suffice as an explanation. I don’t look for some nefarious motive if incompetence or a lack of protocol will explain it.” #TheStory pic.twitter.com/KTuM89nPec
— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 7, 2018
Gowdy also suggested that the State Department should be investigated for its role in peddling information to Steele, something which Nunes said his committee is already looking into.
The House Intelligence Committee on Monday unanimously voted to release the Democratic memo after making the GOP one public on Friday.
Trump can block the document’s release within five days of the vote, refusing to declassify its contents in full or in party. However, Trump’s decision can be overruled via a full House vote on the matter.