Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), a senior Republican who was part of a classified Justice Department briefing last week, says the FBI was correct to use an informant to gather information from advisers to President Trump’s campaign in 2016.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), a senior Republican who was part of a classified Justice Department briefing last week, says the FBI acted properly when it deployed an informant to gather information from advisers to President Trump’s campaign in 2016, Politico reports. Gowdy said the briefing, convened by the Justice Department under pressure from Trump, convinced him that the FBI’s information-gathering steps were appropriate.
An FBI informant — a former academic who worked in several presidential administrations — apparently approached multiple members of Trump’s foreign policy team, including advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos. Trump has seized on that news to suggest nefarious surveillance, but Justice Department officials say informants are a staple of counterintelligence investigations like the one the FBI had launched to investigate Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 election. Gowdy’s comments are a significant pushback against the president and his allies who have contended that the FBI’s use of an informant amounted to proof that the Obama administration embedded a spy in his campaign — an accusation that hasn’t been backed up by any available evidence. “It looks to me like the FBI was doing what President Trump said: ‘I want you to do, find it out,’” Gowdy said. He added: “President Trump himself …said, ‘If anyone connected with my campaign was working with Russia, I want you to investigate it.’ Sounds to me like that was exactly what the FBI did.”