Trey Gowdy has a well-earned reputation for being a “Bulldog” when it comes to sinking his teeth into a witness on cross examination, but the South Carolina congressman also knows when to play defense.
And his defense of FBI Director James Comey’s game-changing decision to announce a new investigation of the Hillary Clinton email scandal is a lesson for every student of political battle.
Because his main weapon is the truth.
In an interview with “Fox & Friends” Tuesday, Gowdy was alternately scathing and scornful when it came to discussing Democrat complaints that Comey was somehow to blame for the damaging news that appears to be behind the rapid erosion of Clinton’s support.
It wasn’t Comey, of course, who stashed potentially incriminating emails on a laptop shared by Clinton’s closest aide and her estranged husband — a device that contained up to 650,000 emails, some of which could be connected to the Clinton investigation.
Since Comey’s announcement Friday plunging Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin deep in Hillary’s email scandal, top Democrats and their media minions have groused publicly that Comey was deliberately interfering in the presidential election. Nevada’s loathsome Sen. Harry Reid led the charge with the absurd accusation that Comey had violated the federal Hatch Act, which forbids virtually all executive branch employees (aside from the president, vice president and some Cabinet positions) from engaging in political conduct.
What Comey did with that announcement on Friday was the only reaction he could have had to the events that came before him. And the instigator of those events was Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton, not the FBI director, Gowdy said.
“Well, to the best of my recollection, Director Comey did not tell [Clinton] to set up her own private email server. He did not tell her to lie about almost every aspect of the email. He didn’t tell Huma Abedin not to turn over all of her devices,” Gowdy told his “Fox & Friends” interviewers.
“And he didn’t tell Anthony Weiner to sext with underage girls,” he said. “So I don’t know how Jim Comey is responsible for any of this.”
— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) November 1, 2016
It’s important to remember here that Gowdy didn’t pull any punches when he grilled Comey on Capitol Hill in the aftermath of the FBI director’s July 5 announcement that he was not recommending criminal prosecution for Clinton related to the email scandal that may have exposed national secrets to unauthorized scrutiny.
When Comey went before Congress two days after the announcement, the questioning of the FBI chief resembled cross-examination in a capital murder case more than testimony on Capitol Hill.
In September, the congressman concluded another round of brutal questioning about the FBI’s first, shockingly shoddy Clinton investigation with an even more brutal observation. “This is not the FBI that I used to work with,” he told Comey, with evident disappointment.
Check out Trey Gowdy’s latest salvo against deceptive Democrats here. The “Fox & Friends” segment is the video’s first 6:33.
So Gowdy was one of Comey’s harshest critics, but he’s not applauding the FBI director now. Basically, Gowdy said, the top federal investigator is simply continuing the pattern of behavior he set five months ago. It’s the Democrats who praised Comey over the summer, Gowdy observed, but are now baying for his blood who are being hypocritical.
“I think Comey had an obligation,” he said. “He told Congress the investigation is over. So new evidence came to light. He could have either sat on it and been criticized afterwards for not telling us, or he could have done the transparent thing and said, ‘look, I’m notifying you…’
“The timing, again, is not Jim Comey’s fault. It is not his fault this is coming up a week or so before the election. That is Secretary Clinton’s fault.”
Near the end of the interview, Gowdy downplayed possible political complications at the Department of Justice stemming from the involvement of Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik, a close friend of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
“In the interests of full disclosure, I have had many, many differences with Peter Kadzik, both publicly and privately, but I actually don’t think it’s a problem,” Gowdy said, noting that real danger in the Department of Justice was higher in the food chain than Kadzik.
“Peter Kadzik doesn’t make these decisions. They’re made at the top of the DOJ,” he said. “I’ve been very critical of the politicization of the DOJ. I think it’s terrible the Department of Justice has been politicized,” the South Carolina representative said. “But Peter Kadzik is not a decision maker. He is a messenger.”
And Gowdy’s dismal view of Comey’s July decision was unchanged. The director’s finding that no one in the Clinton crew “intended” to break the law was still wrong, Gowdy said.
“I have been critical of him in the past, I have been supportive of him in the past,” Gowdy said. “Depending on the facts.”
Facts are stubborn things, as John Adams once said. And the truth hurts – especially if you’re a Democrat named Hillary Clinton.