Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) is accusing Democrats of not doing enough to help investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, which would likely come as news to many of them.
The House Oversight Committee chairman on Sunday chided his colleagues on the other side of the aisle for focusing too much on potential ties between the Kremlin and President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign ― the subject of a federal investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.
“I wish the Democrats would help a little bit more instead of reading the Moscow phonebook ... trying to see if Jared Kushner knows a guy named Igor,” Gowdy said during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. “I wish they’d help.”
“That’s been my focus in 2017 ― understanding that Russia tried to subvert our democracy,” he continued. “And it would be great if my Democratic friends helped a little bit.”
Gowdy pointed to reports that linked opposition research by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign with a secret dossier about Trump and his alleged ties to Russia. Both the DNC and the Clinton campaign have maintained they had no knowledge a law firm they worked with had made payments toward the research.
The revelation bolstered attempts by conservatives to discredit Mueller’s investigation into the Russian issue, which includes the Trump campaign’s possible ties to officials from that country.
“It’s certainly interesting whether it’s collusion, coincidence, coordination ― I don’t know yet,” Gowdy said about the recent reports on the alleged Democratic funding of the dossier.
The Democratic Party has been nearly unified in its concern over the U.S. intelligence community’s findings in January that Russia launched cyberattacks and engaged in a massive misinformation campaign to tip the 2016 election in Trump’s favor.
Just days after the findings were released, Democrats in both the House and Senate called for an independent commission to investigate Russia’s attempts to interfere in the election.
“We cannot allow foreign attacks on our electoral process to become normal or inevitable,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said in a strong January statement. “Ladies and gentleman, they are neither.”
Several Democratic lawmakers have accused their Republican counterparts of moving too slowly on the Trump-Russia collusion probe, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“They’re stonewalling this,” Pelosi said in February. “The public is owed the truth, deserves the truth. We hope the FBI is pursuing the truth.”
Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on his intelligence agencies’ findings. In January, he said he believed Russia was behind “the hacking” ― but that “others also” may have been involved. He has also consistently denied that the election meddling helped him win the presidency, saying last month that such allegations are part of a “Russian hoax.”
Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers worked to impose tougher sanctions against Russia in light of the attacks, despite Trump’s censure of the measures. And while Democrats and members of his own political party have urged him to strongly condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump has yet to do so.
On Friday, CNN reported that a federal grand jury filed the first charges in Mueller’s investigation, adding that the person or persons indicted could be taken into custody as soon as Monday.
Trump has fiercely denied that his campaign colluded with Russia. In a series of tweets Sunday, he said collusion allegations were “phony” and lashed out at Democrats, including his 2016 presidential election opponent Hillary Clinton, for perpetuating what he called a “witch hunt for evil politics.”