I wondered how Trey Gowdy felt about the ending of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
When Rep. Gowdy announced he’d not seek reelection last month, one of the background stories that seemed to seep out was that the partisanship of Washington had gotten to be too much for him. Also, that naked partisanship on the committee had led to he and Devin Nunes, Trump devotee and committee chairman, butting heads.
In announcing the end of their part of the investigation on Monday, Rep. Mike Conway said that they agreed that Russia had interfered, but they disagreed with the U.S. intelligence community that Russia had a preference for Donald Trump.
From the Washington Examiner:
“The bottom line: The Russians did commit active measures against our election in ’16, and we think they will do that in the future,” Conaway said, adding, “We disagree with the narrative that they were trying to help Trump.”
That was the conclusion that Republicans on the committee had made at the beginning of the investigation, when Devin Nunes consulted with the White House and then made an announcement about his “findings” without first telling his colleagues on the committee what he was doing.
But Gowdy, who is not running for re-election in November, said that it was “clear, based on the evidence, Russia had disdain for Secretary Clinton and was motivated in whole or in part by a desire to harm her candidacy or undermine her presidency had she prevailed.”
Gowdy’s assessment aligns with that of a January 2017 U.S. intelligence assessment which determined with “high confidence” Russian President Vladimir Putin approved an “influence campaign” during the 2016 election that would assist Trump and hurt Clinton.
The committee announced with a flourish on Monday that there was “no collusion,” and President Trump touted their findings on Twitter (of course).
Committee Democrats, however, were not ready to throw in the towel, and some will continue their part of the investigation on their own.
Also, the Senate Intelligence Committee is also still actively investigating.
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is more active and far-reaching. He’s been given authority to follow whatever rabbit holes are opened up along the course of his investigation, whether it is something under the broad umbrella of “collusion,” whether it’s attempted obstruction, or even money laundering, bank fraud, or foreign conspiracies that have absolutely nothing to do with Russia. The Russia probe was just the seed.
Gowdy is the second Republican from the House Intelligence Committee to break with the conclusion of fellow Republicans on the committee. Florida Rep. Tom Rooney also felt there was enough evidence to suggest the Kremlin wanted to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump.
I think in all the evidence-searching, there should be at least some effort to insert commonsense.
Who would serve the Kremlin’s needs, best?
Who has the least amount of experience? Who could be most easily manipulated? Who would make the U.S. weakest, keep it in the most turmoil?
Russia benefits when the U.S. is swallowing its own head. You may have your own theories about which of the two incredibly awful candidates from 2016 fit that bill, but to pretend all of Russia’s interference was just for the sake of mischief and that it had no purpose is kind of naïve.