House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy came down heavily on Donald Trump for inviting Vladimir Putin to the United States during a recent one-on-one meeting in Finland, reports Politico.
Trump has received bipartisan backlash for having agreed to meet Putin despite overwhelming evidence pointing to Russia having meddled in the 2016 presidential elections. It got worse with Trump’s confused messaging after the summit, which culminated with the White House announcing that it was working to invite Putin to visit Washington later this year.
Gowdy has been vocal about his disagreements with the current administration lately, voicing concerns about Trump appearing increasingly cuddly with one of the country’s most longstanding arch enemies.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Gowdy said that while he would still give Trump the benefit of doubt over his meeting with Putin considering things like Syria, nuclear armament and North Korea were discussed, he could not digest the president inviting the Russian president to visit the United States.
“The fact that we have to talk to you about Syria or other matters is very different from issuing an invitation. Those should be reserved for, I think, our allies.”
Trump, who spoke more harshly of FBI than Russia at the summit, seems to be losing supporters even within his own camp — something Gowdy believes could escalate drastically unless he stops being so friendly with Russia at the expense of his own intelligence agencies.
“It can be proven beyond any evidentiary burden that Russia is not our friend and they tried to attack us in 2016,” Gowdy said. “So the president either needs to rely on the people that he has chosen to advise him, or those advisers need to reevaluate whether or not they can serve in this administration. But the disconnect cannot continue.”
This would sound particularly disturbing to Trump, who is already finding it difficult to cope with the news that his former attorney, Michael Cohen, secretly taped his conversation about paying former Playmate Karen McDougal to not make her affair with Trump public. The president reportedly found it “inconceivable” that a lawyer would tape his client, and is seeking legal opinion on whether such an action on Cohen’s part would violate client-attorney privilege.
Now with Gowdy fundamentally telling Trump that he would lose Republican allies if Putin visited the country, it probably marks the most difficult phase in Trump’s presidency. If his advisers actually leave him for supporting Putin over the FBI, Trump could soon find himself isolated in Washington — something no president would find easy coping with.