Trey Gowdy faced off with CIA Director Brennan this week in a House Intelligence Committee hearing about the Trump Russia scandal. Think Progress noted that Trey’s performance in the hearing “backfired spectacularly.” In the contentious hearing and interviews after, Trey Gowdy may have even implicated himself in the Trump Russia collusion scandal.
Upon further investigation it appears that Trey Gowdy’s connections to Donald Trump run deep, into deep pockets. His super PAC has accepted large sums of money starting around the time that the House Intelligence Committee began investigating Donald Trump and his campaign for collusion with Russia to interfere with Elections 2016.
Meanwhile, Trey Gowdy is also facing a House Ethics complaint for actions related to the Benghazi investigation against Hillary Clinton. Those actions by Trey Gowdy are called bribes by the Democratic Coalition that has filed the ethics complaint against Trey Gowdy.
Trey Gowdy is also vying for the House Oversight chair spot after Republican Jason Chaffetz leaves Congress at the end of June.
House Oversight Chair Jason Chaffetz is leaving Congress mid-term at the end of June to “spend more time with his family.” That’s often political code for, “leaving in disgrace.” While rumors are rampant as to why Jason Chaffetz is making a sudden exit from one of the highest ranking positions in the 115th Congress, his Republican friend Trey Gowdy is eyeing the vacancy as the chair of the House Oversight Committee.
But grabbing that gavel won’t be an easy ride for Trey. Not only does he face strong opposition, the chair of this committee must not be ethically compromised. Trey Gowdy has a few problems in this area.
This week did not help him in that regard. This week, before the House Intelligence Committee hearing on the Trump Russia scandal, former CIA Director John Brennan testified that he was “aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign.”
Republican Trey Gowdy tried to squash this message, and as Think Progress noted, “repeatedly tried to steer the former CIA Director away from the discussion of Trump Russia.” As the hearing was about Trump Russia, the deflection tactic appeared unusual to many, or, “backfired spectacularly” as Think Progress stated.
Former CIA Director Brennan fired back on Trey Gowdy’s attempt to close the discussion and things got heated.
After the hearing, Trey Gowdy gave an interview with Manu Raju, a congressional reporter for CNN, and said, “It’s not unusual for Russians to contact campaigns.”
This is incorrect. There is no reason for Russia to contact American elections campaigns. This could be the major Trump Russia slip for Trey Gowdy, as it suggests he knows that Russia does in fact contact some campaigns. It may implicate him in the Trump Russia scandal.
Matthew Dowd, Chief Political Analyst for ABC News responded to Manu Raju’s tweet saying, “Never happened to me in 2000, 2004, never happened to Begala in 1992 and 1996, never happened to Schmidt in 2004 and 2008.”
How Trey Gowdy knows that Russia contacts campaigns is unclear at this time. Think Progress noted that there are only two possible reasons for Trey to make this claim. The first being the “most obvious explanation” that Trey Gowdy is just covering up for Donald Trump.
The other “more disturbing possibility” is that Russians do contact Republican campaigns. But this is not permitted in a campaign. Any foreign state contact with an election campaign must be disclosed to the FBI and to the appropriate committees. If it is not, it is presumed that there is something to hide.
Either rationale for Trey Gowdy is feasible at this point in time. It is possible that he is covering for Donald Trump. It is equally possible that he knows firsthand that Russia contacts campaigns and does not want that information to come out.
There does appear to be money changing hands between those supporting Donald Trump, and those supporting Trey Gowdy. That money began changing hands around the time that the House Intelligence Committee began hearings on Trump Russia.
Those money exchanges are different than the money exchanges that occurred when Trey Gowdy was investigating Benghazi, exchanges that a House Ethics complaint has been lodged over.
The Trump Russia House Intelligence Committee investigation began around March 31 according to CNBC News. At the time, the Trump Russia investigation was chaired by Republican Devin Nunes. Devin Nunes has since had to recuse himself from the investigation over ethics problems.
On March 31, a Super PAC known as The Committee to Defend the President contributed $5,000 to a Super PAC known as Trey Gowdy for Congress.
This particular Super PAC is tied to a consulting firm known as DB Capitol Strategies. The DB in this group stands for Dan Backer. Dan Backer is responsible for running Donald Trump’s Great America Super PAC, which specialized in hiding illegal foreign contributions, according to the Telegraph.
The connections to Trey Gowdy are clear. The Super PAC known as Committee to Defend the President is also sometimes called the Stop Hillary PAC. This is where Trey Gowdy’s current House Ethics Complaints come in.
On March 21 of this year, the Democratic Coalition filed a House Ethics Complaint against Trey Gowdy, formally known as Harold Watson Gowdy, for accepting $6,000 in contributions from anti-Hillary Clinton groups while investigating Benghazi.
The Stop Hillary PAC spent $10,000 directly in support of Rep. Gowdy, the House Ethics Complaint reads. This means that Trey Gowdy received thousands of dollars from anti-Hillary super PACs when investigating Hillary Clinton. Some call this a “campaign contribution,” others call it a bribe.
It also means that Trey Gowdy received thousands of dollars while investigating Donald Trump for Trump Russia collusion. Trey Gowdy behaves in hearings as if he does not believe the Trump Russia scandal is real. It also does appear that Trey Gowdy may have been given hush money on the Trump Russia scandal, in the same week that Congressional hearings on the scandal began.
Trey Gowdy is also running for House Oversight Chair when his friend Republican Jason Chaffetz leaves office later next month. This is the main investigative committee in Congress, and is one that is intended to provide oversight to Congress members to make sure they behave ethically.
Trey Gowdy is facing ethics complaints as he eyes the position of chair of this committee.
Obtaining the gavel for the House Oversight Committee is not going to be an easy task for Trey Gowdy. He not only has ethics complaints on the docket, but he also is not going to run unopposed.
Fellow Oversight Committee member Rep. Dennis Ross of Florida is reportedly eyeing the position according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Rep. Steve Russell from Oklahoma is also considering a run for the chair position.
If Trey Gowdy thought he was a lock for that spot before this week, he may think otherwise. House Intelligence hearings were not favorable to him, and in fact only raised more questions on his vested interest in shutting down the Trump Russia investigation.
[Feature Image by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images]