You can count House Speaker Paul Ryan among those who are skeptical the FBI spied on President Donald Trump’s campaign. Ryan told reporters today there’s no real evidence suggesting #Spygate is a real thing, but noted there’s still plenty of investigating to do. Via The Hill:
“Chairman Gowdy’s initial assessment is accurate, but we have more digging to do,” Ryan told reporters during his weekly news conference.
While both Ryan and Gowdy received a closed-door briefing on the bureau’s use of an informant in the investigation, there is still an outstanding request to view the underlying documents to support the briefing.
“We have some more documents to review. We still have some unanswered questions… If we got all the information we were looking for, we could wrap this up faster,” Ryan said.
“I have seen no evidence to the contrary of the initial assessment Chairman Gowdy has made. But I want to make sure that we run every lead down and make sure we get final answers to these questions.”
Ryan’s couched statement is actually pretty smart because it’s always possible Trump’s claim will turn out to be something. It’s also smart for Ryan to say he wants more documents turned over so he can take a look at them and see if they answer all his questions. It wouldn’t be surprising to see other congressmen and women have the same opinion. It allows people to observe what’s going on and then make a decision once all the information has been released (and, FBI, you better release all the information).
Let’s also go back to Gowdy’s original comments on Fox News. He wasn’t trying to be some #NeverTrump advocate, but someone who thinks Trump isn’t under investigation and those who think he’s some Putin puppet are just plain wrong. Here’s a transcript of the pertinent comments from Gowdy’s appearance on The Story.
I think there are two things important to understand. Number one, the source of President Trump’s frustration. Brennan say he should be in the dustbin of history. Comey said impeachment is too good of a remedy. Clapper doesn’t like him, Loretta Lynch, said call it a matter, not an investigation.
Schiff said he had evidence of collusion before we even began the investigation, and 60 Democrats have voted to impeach him before Bob Mueller has come up with a single solitary finding. That’s what’s got him frustrated.
What should have him hearten is the fact that Chris Wray, Rod Rosenstein, and all the senior folks at DOJ now were all Trump appointees. So, here is what’s fair to ask, what did the FBI do? When did they do it? What was the factual predicate upon which they took whatever actions they took and against whom were they directed?
But remember, Martha, it was President Trump, himself who said, number one, “I didn’t collude with the Russia but if anyone connected with my campaign did, I want the FBI to find that out.” It looks to me like the FBI was doing what President Trump said I want you to do, find it out. He is not the target. So, when Schiff and others don’t make that clear, they’re doing the disservice to our fellow citizens. He is not the target.
I think Gowdy is wrong to suggest later in the interview Trump should sit down with Robert Mueller, but it’s crystal clear Gowdy does not believe Trump did anything wrong. It’s also apparent Gowdy doesn’t believe Trump is being investigated. It’s anyone’s guess if he believes it privately, however it wouldn’t be surprising if he did.
It’s honestly why the Russia investigation has been annoyingly frustrating from the very beginning. It seems like everyone leaped to an opinion at the start and you either had to be “OH HOLY COW TRUMP IS REALLY PUTIN’S BOY!” or “THIS IS A WITCH HUNT AND THE DEEP STATE WANTS TO TAKE US ALL DOWN!” There’s no room for middle ground and some of us want to watch to see what’s going on before jumping in whole hog on either side.
A friend of mine at my 20th high school reunion said politics was, “all about the damn jersey,” and it’s honestly getting to be the same thing with this Russian investigation. Sometimes it’s best to wait for all the information to be released before making a judgment. Ryan’s decision to take a “wait and see” approach to all this makes sense, and it’d be nice if more people had his attitude.