Fair question? Trey Gowdy objects to it, but only in part, defending Devin Nunes while more self-effacingly admitting to initially considering FBI statements too credible. Tucker Carlson wants to know why Republicans in control of both the House and Senate didn’t expose what Carlson calls the “Russia hoax” when it first launched. Just to make sure no one missed Carlson’s point, Fox put a chyron up while Gowdy spoke that read, “Republican lawmakers like Graham and Burr failed to do proper oversight of the FBI’s Russia hoax.”

Gowdy disputes that everything related to Russia in the 2016 election was a hoax, but he does offer a limited mea culpa for having misunderstood the situation at first. “I made a lot of mistakes in life,” Gowdy half-jokes, and trusting the FBI was one of them:

GOWDY: I made a lot of mistakes in life. Relying on briefings and not insisting on the documents.It took me about three weeks. I went to the Department of Justice. I sat there for four hours. That is when I saw that Peter Strzok actually initiated and approved Crossfire Hurricane. That is when I saw the exculpatory information on George Papadopoulos. That is when I saw for the very first time that it was the Trump campaign mentioned in that predicate document. They had been telling us all along Trump’s not the target, the campaign’s not the target. So yes, my mistake was relying on the word of the FBI and the DoJ and not insisting on the documents. Luckily it took me three weeks to correct that mistake.

However, Gowdy continues, don’t confuse the FBI’s political hit job as some sort of exoneration of Russia. Their operations to interfere in the election were real, even if they weren’t exactly spectacular. “I am convinced Russia tried to interfere with the fundamentals of our democracy,” Gowdy tells Carlson. That is separate from the hack of the DNC server and John Podesta’s e-mails, which Gowdy describes as “two separate inquiries,” but the point is that Russia didn’t succeed in its project. “I don’t think they impacted the results of the election at all,” Gowdy says. “Donald Trump won fair and square.”

Furthermore, Gowdy says, it’s not as if Republicans didn’t do anything in response to this. Nunes tried to blow the whistle on it, but faced a firestorm whenever he pointed out what has now been established about Crossfire Hurricane. “Am I defensive of Devin? I am,” Gowdy says, “because he had an incredibly difficult 2017. He wrapped up his investigation a lot quicker than Bob Mueller did, and with a lot less help from the witnesses.” The problem was that few were listening and those who did accused Nunes of lying for Trump. He’s being vindicated now, but it’s not as though Nunes wasn’t trying to put an end to the matter when he ran the House Intelligence Committee, Gowdy argues.

Carlson agrees, but later in the segment we see the chyron declare, “Dithering GOP allowed Dems to wreak havoc with Russia probe hoax.” Let’s just say that there is a great deal of skepticism that Gowdy and others will be facing as these transcripts and other documents get declassified and released.

Maybe when it comes to the FBI, the only legit answer is the Flounder Defense (NSFW):