House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said Thursday that “classified” information about conversations by members of President Donald Trump’s administration “should never have made it to the public domain.”
“We cannot overlook the fact that the methodology of the collection and the content of that transcript never should have made into the public domain,” Gowdy said in an appearance on MSNBC, apparently referring to details of ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s conversations with Russia’s ambassador, according to Gowdy’s office. “And people may like that it did today, because it hurts Republicans, but what it really does is it hurts our country because you are leaking classified information.”
He said that “all facets” of contacts between members of Trump’s administration and Russian officials are important, but leaks particularly so.
“I’m not focused on the leak, but the leak is really, really, important,” Gowdy said.
Gowdy also said that “Congress is not equipped to investigate crime.”
“We don’t have the tools to do it,” he said. “We are welcome to investigate allegations of constitutional injury but allegations of criminal activity we are not equipped to do.”
He called for an investigation of “every facet” of Russia’s attempts to interfere with anything “from elections to infrastructure.”
“Russia is not our friend, so I want to be crystal clear about that,” Gowdy said. “Investigate it all.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself on Thursday from an investigation into ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia, amid revelations that Sessions met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before the election.
In January, Sessions denied to the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had any “communications with Russians.” On Thursday, however, Sessions’ spokeswoman confirmed that Sessions met with Kislyak twice before the election.
Correction: This post has been updated with additional information from Gowdy’s office that the congressman was also referring to leaks about Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador.