The South Carolina Republican congressman, best known for his aggressive investigation of the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi attack, dismissed President Donald Trump’s claim that his campaign was spied on by the FBI in 2016. “I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got,” Gowdy told Fox News on Tuesday night.
In defending the FBI, Gowdy broke ranks with Trump’s repeated attempts to discredit the Mueller investigation by casting doubt on the underlying case. As Politico notes, “Moments after Gowdy’s interview, Trump took the stage at a rally in Nashville, Tennessee, and insisted that his campaign had been ‘infiltrated’ by political opponents, reiterating the allegation that he has leveled in recent weeks as part of an effort to undercut special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.”
In normal times, Gowdy’s words might carry weight among Republicans. After all, he’s an unimpeachable conservative who won during the Tea Party wave of 2010 and earned renown on the right for his fierce questioning of Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi hearings.
But these are not normal times. Gowdy himself seems an anachronism in a Trumpized GOP, which might explain why he’s not running for re-election this fall. As Gowdy prepares to leave office, he can afford to be more frank than other Republican lawmakers. But it is unlikely he’ll sway many Trump voters to doubt the president’s Spygate fantasy.