Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said the FBI acted appropriately when it used an informant to gather information about Donald Trump campaign advisers who allegedly had suspicious contacts linked to Russia prior to the 2016 election.
“I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got, and that it has nothing to do with Donald Trump,” Gowdy said Tuesday during an interview on Fox News.
Gowdy last week attended a classified DOJ briefing alongside other top lawmakers regarding the informant and the tactics the FBI had used during the 2016 campaign. The South Carolina congressman, who is retiring this year, is the first GOP lawmaker briefed on the informant to directly rebut Trump and his allies regarding the surveillance claims.
Trump has ratcheted up his attacks against the Russia investigation, the Justice Department and the FBI in response to the revelation. He claimed the agency “infiltrated” and “spied” on his campaign under the orders of President Barack Obama, and he demanded that the Justice Department investigate the accusations and turn over any relevant documents to Congress.
Trump again tore into the FBI during a rally in Nashville on Tuesday evening, insisting that his campaign had been “infiltrated” by his political opponents. “Can you imagine?” he said, to boos in the audience.
Best photos from Trump campaign rallies through the years
Best photos from Trump campaign rallies through the years
Pro-Trump supporters face off with anti-Trump protesters outside a Donald Trump campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Sandy Huffaker
A Trump supporter gestures prior to President Donald Trump's appearance at a rally in support of Senator Luther Strange at the Von Braun Centre in Huntsville, Alabama, U.S., September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Marvin Gentry
Supporters cheer as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally for Senator Luther Strange in Huntsville, Alabama, U.S. September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Donald Trump supporters and protesters clash outside Century II, where the Republican presdential caucus took place, in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Fernando Salazar/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
Donald Trump supporters cheer for their man inside Century II, where the Republican presdential caucus took place, in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday, March 5, 2016. (Fernando Salazar/Wichita Eagle/TNS via Getty Images)
A young supporter of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up a sign and foam finger before a campaign rally in Syracuse, New York April 16, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds babies at a campaign rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado, U.S., July 29, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A baby is seen held up on shoulders before U.S. Republican presidential candidate Trump speaks at a campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, New York April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in support of Republican congressional candidate Rick Sacconne during a Make America Great Again rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, U.S., March 10, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally for Senator Luther Strange in Huntsville, Alabama, U.S. September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
A man wears a Trump 2020 campaign button as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in support of Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone during a Make America Great Again rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, U.S., March 10, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
People pray before U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., August 22, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
TOTAL SPORTS, WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, MICHIGAN, UNITED STATES - 2018/04/28: A supporter seen raising a caps writting on it 'Make America Great Again' while the President Donald Trump gives a speech during a campaign rally in Washingtown Township, Michigan. (Photo by Chirag Wakaskar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
An attendee wearing a hat reading 'American Dreamer' takes a photograph during a rally with U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, in Washington, Michigan, U.S., on Saturday, April 28, 2018. Trumpï¿½took on most of his usual targets at a campaign-style rally on Saturday, including Democrats, the media and former FBI Directorï¿½James Comey, and urged his supporters to vote in midterm elections to prevent a rollback of his policies. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump sheds tears as she watches him speak during a rally with supporters at North Side middle school in Elkhart, Indiana, U.S., May 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Supporters cheer for U.S. President Donald Trump as he speaks during a rally with supporters at North Side middle school in Elkhart, Indiana, U.S., May 10, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
ELKHART, IN - MAY 10: President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a campaign rally on May 10, 2018 in Elkhart, Indiana. The crowd filled the 7,500-person-capacity gymnasium. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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But Gowdy maintained the FBI was simply following Trump’s orders when it investigated his campaign’s ties to Russia.
“President Trump himself in the [former FBI Director James] Comey memos said, ‘If anyone connected with my campaign was working with Russia, I want you to investigate it,’” Gowdy said Tuesday on Fox News. “Sounds to me like that was exactly what the FBI did.”
Gowdy faulted Democrats, however, for not specifying that Trump isn’t the target of the investigation. “This had nothing to do with Donald Trump.”