Gowdy On Trump: ‘I Don’t Like It When Anybody’ Levels Criminal Accusations

Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., speaks during a hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, April 4, 2017 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/AP

House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) on Wednesday said that he doesn’t like it “when anybody accuses other people of committing crimes.” President Donald Trump claimed the same day, without providing any evidence, that he believes former national security adviser Susan Rice committed a crime.

“Have you seen any evidence or do you have any proof or knowledge of any crime committed by former National Security Advisor Susan Rice?” MSNBC’s Greta Van Susteren asked.

“No, ma’am, the Congress doesn’t investigate crime,” Gowdy replied. “I don’t like it when anybody accuses other people of committing crimes.”

On Wednesday, Trump made the unsubstantiated claim that Rice committed a crime by reportedly requesting the names of his transition staffers whose communications were swept up in foreign surveillance.

Gowdy said that Rice is “a witness that has relevant information” that would be within his panel’s jurisdiction.

“We’re going to want to talk to her, but we don’t investigate crime,” he said. “When you accuse people of committing crimes, that’s serious and it’s not Congress’ job to investigate that.”

Gowdy said that it was also not his job to “level accusations like that.”

“Unless you have overwhelming proof of a crime and it’s your job to make that allegation, I just try to stay out of that realm,” he said.

“How helpful is it when the president says that, to the investigation?” Van Susteren asked.

“This is a free country. You can say what you want to say,” Gowdy said. “I would rather wait until the investigation begins and then is concluded and we talk to all relevant witnesses.”

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Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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