South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy said Tuesday that Democrats want to drag out the Russia investigations “as long as they possibly can” in hopes of retaking the House.
“There’s a built in advantage for the Democrats dragging this out for as long as they possibly can,” Gowdy said in an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
“They want this to drag through the 2018 elections. They want to retake the House. It is our responsibility to conduct as thorough an investigation as we can but also do it in the most expedited way that we can,” added Gowdy, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, one of the three congressional panels investigating Russian interference in the presidential campaign.
Gowdy also took a shot at the mainstream media, which he says has showed a deep interest in the Russia investigations, in part because of a disdain for Trump.
“The mainstream media could give a damn less about what happened in Benghazi,” said Gowdy, who referred to his stint as chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
“They’re really, really interested in what happened in Russia, in part because they don’t know anybody who voted for Donald Trump.”
Gowdy offered other criticism during his interview with Carlson, including of former White House adviser Steve Bannon.
Bannon appeared before the House Intel Committee on Tuesday. But much to the frustration of both Republicans and Democrats on the committee, he cited executive privilege to avoid answering questions about his communications before, during and after his White House stint.
“We learned about a new privilege that before today did not exist. It’s an executive privilege that covers transition communications, communications while you’re working at the White House, and then communications,” said Gowdy.
Bannon refused to answer questions even after the committee slapped him with a subpoena during the interview. Bannon’s lawyers reportedly said that he was instructed by the White House to not discuss a wide range of issues.
One topic on which Bannon was pressed were his comments to Michael Wolff, the author who recently published the White House tell-all, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
Bannon is quoted in the book as saying that the June 2016 meeting that Donald Trump Jr. had in Trump Tower with a group of Russians was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.”
In his interview, Bannon reportedly backed off of his assertion that the meeting was an act of treason on the part of Trump Jr.
Gowdy also said in his interview with Carlson that after a year-long investigation by House Intel, he has yet to see evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
“I have seen no evidence of collusion between the Russians and President Trump, between the Russians and the Trump campaign,” he said.