The Trey Gowdy Retirement

I’ve had a busy few days at other sites. I did this piece (on the dossier) at Politico and had an enjoyable appearance on Democracy Now this morning.

I want to highlight something I discussed on DN that has gotten drowned out in the rest of the day’s news: Trey Gowdy’s decision to retire, taken even as he was raising money for his reelection.

AMY GOODMAN: You know, I meant to say progressive activists, not even Democratic congressmembers, when it came to being concerned about FBI and intelligence and NSA overreach. But you mentioned Trey Gowdy. And yesterday, the Republican congressman from South Carolina, a chair of the House Oversight Committee, announced he is not going to seek re-election. He was instrumental in crafting the Nunes memo. Can you talk about the significance of him leaving Congress, leader in the Benghazi investigation, attacking Hillary Clinton, etc.?

MARCY WHEELER: Yeah, Trey Gowdy, when he’s in front of a camera, is one of the most blustery Republican partisans. But you can tell, even, for example, from the Carter Page transcript, his interview with House Intelligence Committee, that behind closed doors he actually is a competent prosecutor, which is—you know, he’s got a background in that. And he can hammer Republican witnesses.

So, what’s interesting about Gowdy is that he—the underlying materials—this is another complaint the Democrats have. The only people who have read the underlying materials are Adam Schiff, four staffers—two of Adam Schiff’s and two of Devin Nunes’s—and Trey Gowdy. It would have been Devin Nunes, but Devin Nunes, probably because of the recusal you talked about earlier, had Gowdy do it instead. So, the only people who have actually looked at the underlying materials include Trey Gowdy. Now, he didn’t write the memo, Nunes’s staffers did. So there’s this game of telephone going on already.

On Sunday, on one of the Sunday shows, Trey—I think it was a Fox show—Trey Gowdy said, “You know, this memo should come out. It’s important. But my side should not use it to undermine the Mueller investigation.” And the reason he gave is that what is not being seen about the Mueller investigation is there’s a whole counterintelligence side to it. There’s a whole side of it investigating how the Russians tampered in our election. And according to Gowdy, who has seen these underlying documents, he thinks that’s an important and legitimate investigation.

Now, we don’t know fully why he decided not to run. He did cite yesterday that he’s sick of politics. But what’s interesting is, yesterday morning, he was still fundraising. So, as of yesterday morning, he was still planning on running. There’s also reports that Don McGahn, who is the White House counsel, who has been in this sort of obstructive role for Trump, as well, was discussing with Gowdy a position on the Fourth Circuit as a circuit court judge, which is something Gowdy has been interested in the past, and Gowdy turned that down. So, Gowdy, even though he is this fire-breathing partisan hack—you know, you go back to the Benghazi case—he seems to have seen something in the underlying investigation that troubles him, that his Republican partisan colleagues are not paying attention to. And so, Gowdy may surprise us, going forward. But I do think that that is an interesting development yesterday, that the one guy on the House Intelligence Committee who’s actually seen the underlying intelligence has decided to get out of the Republican partisan hackery rat race.

This piece in Politico emphasizes his disillusionment with the partisanship, especially around the Mueller inquiry. It sounds like he’s getting concerned that the GOP defense of Trump is beginning to threaten DOJ.

Gowdy has found himself butting heads in recent months with Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and other pro-Trump Republicans who have hinted at corruption at the FBI. He’s expressed concerns about anti-Trump texts by some FBI officials, and he has said on TV that Congress has a duty to oversee the agency. But behind the scenes he’s had to rein in some of his conservative colleagues who want to undercut the entirety of the Justice Department, which he views as essential to American life.

I know we’ve been trained to consider Gowdy the worst kind of partisan, but in some witness transcripts it’s clear he’s seeing the GOP bullshit (and, like I said on DN, he’s the one guy who has seen what Mueller is looking at).

Gowdy is trusted by many of his colleagues. And if he begins to defend the Mueller inquiry, things may begin to shift under Trump.

84 replies
  1. Rapier says:

    My story and I’ll stick to it till proven wrong, is that the memo is such a turd that Trey finally has had enough and is going to go where the money and real power is, corporations. Even Federal judges now on the Conservative side are often little more than turd polishers.

  2. Mike schiesser says:

    If you can post the quotes from the Gowdy transcript you refer to, that might also be interesting to me thanks

    • Peterr says:

      From Fox News Sunday:

      CHRIS WALLACE: Congressman, we’ll get to your concerns about the FBI and the Department of Justice in a moment. But — but let me begin first with this. Do you still trust, after all you’ve heard, do you still trust Special Counsel Robert Mueller to conduct a fair and unbiased investigation?

      REP. TREY GOWDY, R-SC, OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: One hundred percent, particularly if he’s given the time, the resources and the independence to do his job. Chris, he didn’t apply for the job. He’s where he is because we have an attorney general who had to recuse himself. So Mueller didn’t raise his hand and say, hey, pick me. We, as a country, asked him to do this.

      And, by the way, he’s got two — there are two components to his jurisdiction. There is a criminal component. But there’s also a counterintelligence component that no one ever talks about because it’s not sexy and interesting. But he’s also going to tell us definitively what Russia tried to do in 2016. So the last time you and I were together, I told my Republican colleagues, leave him the hell alone, and that’s still my advice.


      WALLACE: The House Intelligence Committee is expected to vote this week on whether to release that four-page memo that you had a big hand in writing that alleges abuse and bias inside the FBI and the Justice Department. As I discussed with Marc Short, The Washington Post reports today the president wants to have the memo released. Do you agree with that?

      GOWDY: I do. I’m sorry that we’re to this point.

      This memo is nothing but a — a — the distilling, the reducing of thousands of pages of documents provided to us by the department and the bureau. So there’s nothing in this memo that the department is not already aware of.

      If you think your viewers want to know whether or not the dossier was used in court proceedings, whether or not it was vetted before it was used, whether or not it’s ever been vetted. If you are interested in who paid for the dossier. If you’re interested in Christopher Steele’s relationship with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, then, yes, you’ll want the memo to come out.

      If you’re Adam Schiff, who is consistently wrong when it comes to issues of disclosure — he didn’t want us to find out any of this information, Chris. He — he fought. In fact, GPS went to court — Fusion GPS went to court to keep us from finding out that the Democrats paid for the dossier. So if you’re Adam Schiff, of course you don’t want the information to come out. You didn’t want us to find it in the first place.

      This memo answers what I think are really legitimate questions and I do think the FBI should look at it before — before it is released. And I have provided that counsel to Chairman Nunes. And I think that he has taken that under advisement.

      So I want to play face-off poker. I want the bureau to know everything that’s in the memo. I think you’ll be surprised. It is not a hit piece on the department and the FBI. I would not have participated in it if that’s what it was.

      WALLACE: But let me — let me — let me pick up on this because the reports are, and you kind of indicated that in your answer, that the memo centers on this question of the FISA application, the Department of Justice FBI application in 2016 for a warrant to conduct electronic surveillance against this fellow, then Trump campaign manager Carter Page. Your complaint, according to reports, is that you say that when they made that application, they didn’t talk about the role of the Russia dossier and especially the fact that it was opposition research paid for by the Clinton campaign.

      The Democrats, and, yes, Adam Schiff is leading a charge, say you’re cherry picking the information. One, that — that the FISA warrant on Carter Page is not as central as you’re making it. And, two, that there was a lot more in the application than just the dossier, that the FBI did not rely just on the dossier to get the warrant.

      GOWDY: Well, I can’t even confirm for you that there is a FISA warrant and I can’t confirm for you who it’s on because that is classified and I’m not going to disseminate classified information. I will just ask you again, are you interested in whether or not the world’s premier law enforcement agency relied on a work product produced, paid for by the Democratic National Committee? Are you interested in whether or not all —


      WALLACE: Question, congressman, final question, I’m going to have to ask you to answer briefly, don’t Republicans hurt their credibility on real issues of bias when they make such a big deal about secret societies and palace coups?

      GOWDY: Yes. Republicans are the best I’ve ever seen at taking good facts and overstating them and therefore changing the narrative.

      I don’t know what they meant by secret society. I didn’t use the phrase. It is fair to ask them.

      But if it were a joke, Chris, then was it also a joke to mention the insurance policy? Was it also a joke to talk about impeachment the morning after President Trump won? Was it also a joke to say, I have no interest in participating in an investigation if he’s going to be cleared.

      There’s a pattern. And Republicans are better served by letting the texts speak for themselves. I have no idea what they meant by that. I don’t know if it was a joke or not. It’s not my job to figure it out.

      These two witnesses need to come in and tell us what they meant by it and everything else they said over the course of 18 months. Republicans would be well served, let the texts speak for themselves. Let the jury make up their mind and quit engaging in hyperbole, which we seem to do a lot.

      Gowdy’s interviews starts about halfway through the show.

        • Peterr says:

          That’s why the places where it *isn’t* pure partisan hackery stand out.

          The whole “Leave [Mueller] the hell alone” stands out in bright neon lights in that regard, especially when Ryan and most of the rest of the GOP is quite willing to go after Mueller over this.

          But a more subtle example of non-hackery when hackery is expected is when Gowdy refused to even confirm the existence of a FISA warrant. Here you’ve got Nunes — the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence — willing to not only confirm it but presumably disclose some of what was in the warrant application, but Gowdy won’t go there. Recall all the GOP outrage about Clinton playing fast and loose with classified information, and Gowdy is quietly calling out Nunes over doing the same thing.

          • Trip says:

            I think the “leave Mueller alone” is very transparent cover. Paul Ryan specifically spoke about how it’s not about Mueller, because it is obviously about Mueller’s investigation. I think the same can be said about Gowdy. It’s all suspension of disbelief, pretending that targeting everyone else involved in the investigative process, is not an attempt to reach Mueller. In this way, they can pretend that they aren’t impugning Mueller’s character (just all of the evidence collection he would use as a prosecutor, leaving him impotent).

            And then look at his response to the “Secret Society” quote. He says it’s hyperbole, and launches into every reason why there could be something to it. I don’t know if it was a joke or not. It’s not my job to figure it out. Well, yeah, it is YOUR JOB to figure it out, and you just stated that you question whether or not it was a joke.

            Trey Gowdy lobbied for the memo to be released, so if there is any FISA mention in it, doesn’t make his point to Fox News incredibly stupid and hypocritical? To use Trump’s words, but originally Holden Caulfield’s, there are many phonies.

  3. Trip says:

    I have a difficult time with Gowdy, one of the original architects of ruthless partisan hackery, becoming tired of partisanship. Unless, of course, he is framing it that the Democrats have taken a page out of the Republican handbook, and that, he can’t abide.

    However, I suppose Dr. Frankenstein did eventually fear and loathe the very monster he created, in his ambition.

    • Trip says:

      Perhaps the campaign begging is a last hurrah of milking the gravy train, or someone is stockpiling a defense fund.

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      I think it’s no longer fun for him as chair of OGR having to deal with placelings and lickspittles, even if they’re Republicans. He sent a letter out this week to the new HHS secretary complaining of repeated refusal to meet deadlines for information requests and a habit of sending out lazy copypasta from public sources instead of providing pertinent documents.

      He only took over that role last summer when Jason “my precious scandalized daughters” Chaffetz jumped ship.

      I wouldn’t read anything into the fundraising circular — members of Congress are under instruction to beg for money every day, and that stuff’s mostly automated. I think it’s more that his political function since 2010 has been as an antagonist — knocking off Bob Inglis in the primary, going after a Democratic-led executive branch — and with the stonewalling and contempt from the current admin, the only way he can play attack dog is against the FBI and DOJ, at the command of Nunes and the White House, and he’s not really up for that.

      • Trip says:

        All good points.

        I think the ‘retirement’ of a lot of the GOP is because they think their work is done, having handed themselves and their benefactors a huge tax cut, holding their noses on the stench of Trumpland. They can go on to relax in either their own windfall from it, or they can be further rewarded and enriched in the private sector, within that same network of lobbyists, etc.

        • pseudonymous in nc says:

          I think the ‘retirement’ of a lot of the GOP is because they think their work is done

          To some degree, yes. Gowdy’s only been in Congress since 2010, the year that he beat Inglis (a rare Republican non-idiot on climate change) in the primary. The seat’s his for life if he wants it, given that it’s upstate SC, but there’s limited scope for upward movement either to the Senate or the governorship, and with the billionaires’ tax cut done, there’s no personal upside in sticking around during no-fun times.

          I’m also sure Gowdy looks around him, sees Jeff Duncan and Mark Meadows rising in power in spite of (because of?) being swivel-eyed zealots on the Idiot’s speed-dial, and can’t compete with that.

  4. dc says:

    I was wondering whether he was taking a less partisan posture now to position himself to survive a senate confirmation hearing to replace Sessions.  I wonder whether Sessions will be pushed out because of “no confidence” from memo fallout or bad news for him from the Mueller probe.  Call me a skeptic, but he led the Benghazi probe, and I don’t think it common for a tiger to change its stripes.

  5. dc says:

    This is OT:
    It seems this memo will pit the FBI and DOJ against Carter Page. Benghazi had all of the betrayed heroes and military men to gin up sympathy. The champion of this cause is Carter Page. I don’t think it is going to end well for the Mueller probe suicide bombers.

    • Trip says:

      No, they aren’t hawking for Carter Page. They are making it about ‘ordinary citizens’, claiming Page is such, and not ever a significant participant in the campaign. Of course if this were true, most people would get behind the injustice of it. However, as noted by Marcy, again and again, if they actually cared about the citizenry, why did they all approve 702? (including the Dems). It’s all smoke and mirrors, a vast facade of being for the ‘little guy’, while tossing up a firewall of protection for the highest power, in reality.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Carter Page is in opposition to the DoJ and FBI.  He has been demonstrably pro-Russian since leaving Naval Intelligence, five years after graduating from Annapolis.  Despite his graduate degrees – from G’town, NYU and SOAS/London – prior bosses have described him as wackadoodle.  Russian intercepts describe him as an idiot, easily fooled, desperate to earn a bundle, though it’s possible this was said with knowledge the speakers were being overheard.  He appears to be as enamored of Putin as Trump is of himself.

      Page’s three years in Moscow for Merrill Lynch only enhanced his pro-Russian stance.  He is suspected by the Bureau, since at least 2013, of being either a low-level agent or source for Russian intelligence.  How he makes a living is suspect.  His consulting business is a one-man show, his clients are apparently largely Russian.

      Almost as an aside, Page’s energetic pro-Russian position was established long before the Trump organization recruited him.  It’s what made him attractive.  Papadopoulos, too.  Why? It is unusual, certainly, for a nominally Republican presidential candidate.  It seems especially so, given how small Trump’s circle of advisers was and is.  All roads in Mueller’s investigation seem to lead not to Rome, but to Moscow.

  6. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    IMO Gowdy is a slithering Nazi snake and is tryin’ to get out of the way of the explosion that’s comin’ from the release of “THE MEMO” (shudder reflexively). If the Republic survives this and gets rid of the neo-Nazi in the White House, he will be well placed to represent the “honorable conservative” and lead the next generation of fascist stooges that replace Ryan and McConnell. Read his interview on FOX and show me one utterance that isn’t an apologia for the fascist coup that is behind this memo thingie.

  7. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    Furthermore, the irony of all of this is that the battle has now been reduced to one of the CIA and the executive against what is left of the non-fascist FBI. This is not gunna end well for any of us citizen folks.

  8. scribe says:

    “Gowdy is trusted by many of his colleagues. And if he begins to defend the Mueller inquiry, things may begin to shift under Trump.”

    Which is why he’s retiring. He got The Word to Go.

  9. orionATL says:

    cong. gowdy may be sincerely concerned about the “counterintelligence” (read: russian interferance) part of mueller’s investigation, but i doubt it. republican congressional politicians have remarkably plastic national security concerns – some days/years they are all in for surveillance, other days/years they are truely horrified by government surveillance. and they have contemptably plastic views of the “rule of law”. that view can be most succinctly stated as “the rule of law applies to democrat presidents and politicians, not republican ones.

    nowhere is that plasticity better demonstrsted than in” pure politician” sen. lindsay graham’s changing support of the mueller investigation. a short year ago it was this:

    and now:

    a clear effort to distract attention from and discredit the mueller investigation.

    i cannot imagine so partisan a shiv as trey gowdy behaving any differently. if you understand the deceit on the nation that trey gowdy fostered in the benghazi investigation, then you know all you need to know about this suddenly upstanding congressman currently speaking out in defense of the counterintelligence investigation being done by mueller – supporting it right up to the moment when republican knives have killed it.

    i’d say gowdy is just hedging his bets in case mueller’s investigation actually survives to demonstrate what is now obvious – that trump and his campaign knowingly colluded with russia.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Gowdy’s departure is curious.  He apparently has a secure seat representing a staunchly Republican district in SC.  There was no obvious need to go.

      Not wanting to be in the minority after 2018 is one possibility, but that seems passive.  Being tired of the relentless fundraising – half of each day – and perhaps some of the politics is a possibility.  That would assume a less political personality than Gowdy seems to have.  Wanting to avoid the fallout from an imploding Trump administration – only just completing one year is possible, but that would be breaking ranks.

      Cleaning up his appearance of objectivity and becoming available for other Trumpian purposes still another.  Wanting to improve his prospects with a seat on the 4th Circuit bench is one more.  But Trump usually extracts a considerable price for such preferment and it’s not clear Gowdy has paid that.

      It is hard to see how Gowdy is taking a principled stand for the rule of law, while so subtly trying to separate himself from the morass of the Trump administration.  It would be nice if true.

      • Dev Null says:

        Is it possible that Gowdy has seen evidence so damning that he doesn’t want to be anywhere nearby when that evidence becomes public? Gowdy having a reputation as an aggressive competent prosecutor before he ran for Congress. (I’m not saying the reputation is deserved, but it’s the impression I have from news reports over the years.)

          • Dev Null says:

            Political grandstanding to damage HRC’s reputation – as Kevin McCarthy admitted – is one thing. Glossing for Russian spies seems different to me. As EW says above, Gowdy is the only Republican congress-critter who has read the classified dox on which the memo is based, so damning information of whatever sort in the classified dox could explain why Gowdy’s reaction seems different from that of the other Republican congress-critters on the committee.

            Perhaps Gowdy is feeling a bit dirty about getting in bed with Russians, which could  explain his quasi-endorsement of Mueller’s counter-intelligence investigation.

            Perhaps, having seen the classified intel, Gowdy suspects that this might not turn out well for the GOP.

            Which is more or less what I meant by “a criminal cover-up”.

            But IANAL, so feel free to educate me.

            As noted in comments, Gowdy was fund-raising only a few days ago. In view of the surprisingly large drop in the Dem congressional advantage in polls recently (Nate Cohn comments in the NYT today


            that control of the House is a tossup if current polls are indicative), the argument that Gowdy is quitting because he expects to be in the minority after the midterms doesn’t seem dispositive. Gowdy might retain his chair if he stood for re-election.

            Then there’s the odd news about Gowdy quitting the Ethics Committee.

            None of the explanations for Gowdy dropping his re-election bid rings entirely true for me whatever one’s opinion of Gowdy. (FWIW I think he’s a loathsome human being. And he has a bad haircut, too…)

            Edit: @Trip: I meant evidence against Trump and/or evidence of Trump campaign coordination with Russian agents.

        • orionATL says:

          dev null –

          personally, that’s my feeling. gowdy is the only one of two congressmen who have read THE MEMO (in a secure room) from doj.what he read there may have been a shocker even for a top congressman tied into insider gossip.

          gowdy may have read it and said “holy shit, i’m not sticking around until this hits the fan”. and he knows it will eventually hit the fan, mueller surviving or no, thru leaks and media reports.

          • bmaz says:

            Let’s be clear, that would NOT be the memo, which was created by Nunes staffers, but would be true as to the actual underlying information including the base FISA Warrant app, and the so called “Woods file” backing it up.

            If that was a “holy shit” moment for poor little Gowdy, he could have proceeded a LOT different than he did. Fuck Gowdy.

            • Dev Null says:

              Exactly my point, and – while not exactly my reaction to Gowdy – close enough.

              Odd that you thought I was shilling for Gowdy.

              If that’s what you thought. I can’t tell.

              • bmaz says:

                No, sigh, not at all. At some point I think we numb into the limits of “threaded” conversation. I really liked it all better when it was truly linear and commenters needed to specifically identify the person and time/comment they were responding to. Clunkier as to the first response, but far more clear as to subsequent ones.

            • orionATL says:

              bmaz –

              what i refered to in “have read THE MEMO (in a secure room)” was not a memo at all. it was a collection of classified documents that only two members of hsci could read. schiff read for the dems, nunes declined to read, and gowdy read the docs instead. it was these that i suggested may have given gowdy pause to reflect on his future.

              unless you’ve read that classified stuff too, i don’t see what you’re getting at in “If that was a “holy shit” moment for poor little Gowdy, he could have proceeded a LOT different than he did. Fuck Gowdy.”

              the argument against nunes expedition to damage mueller is that it ignores much relevant info, presumably included in this reading collection.

              • Dev Null says:

                J-Rube makes an interesting point that hadn’t occurred to me (but then IANAL):


                Third, if Nunes or Nunes’s staff cooperated or consulted with — colluded with, that is — the White House in cherry-picking classified material for the purpose of hobbling the investigation, they are party to an ongoing plan to obstruct the Russia investigation. Whether that has criminal implications remains to be seen. But they now need to be questioned by the special counsel. If they lie, they are subject to criminal prosecution. Nunes’s staff has no “speech and debate” protection, so anyone involved in this scheme would be well advised to lawyer up.

                @orionATL: As regards “MEMO”, sorry, I read your reference as bmaz did.

                I’ll speculate that bmaz meant that Gowdy could have blown the lid off the entire sorry disinformation operation were he a vertebrate. That’s what I thought bmaz meant, anyway.

                Also incidentally Raw Story via BJ says that the key Nunes staffer responsible for assembling Nunes’ memo is an incompetent idiot. Sun rises in east, news at 11. Best and brightest.

                • Dev Null says:

                  Perhaps relevant to the idiot staffer, Adam Silverman @BJ points out that the timelines in the memo are bogus:


                  But here’s the real problem: the timelines don’t line up. Acting AG Yates is mentioned as one of the DOJ signatories. Acting AG Yates was fired in January 2017. The FISA warrant application to surveil Page, let alone the extension request(s), weren’t put before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) until September 2017. Similarly, FBI Director Comey is identified as one of the signatories, yet he was fired in March 2017. This argument doesn’t hold water: how could Comey and Yates be involved in signing off on a bogus warrant request based on the Steele dossier in September, or extensions 90 days later, if they’d been terminated from Federal service 8 and 5 month previous to the requests being made. Bob Mueller wasn’t appointed to be the Special Counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein was appointed in March 2017, shortly after FBI Director Comey’s firing, which was itself about 5 months before the FISA warrant request. Finally, we know that the FBI opened its counterintelligence investigation into the President’s campaign in July of 2016 as a result of information provided by Australian intelligence based on a contact report from the Australian High Commissioner regarding his meeting with George Papadapolous. The timelines of the allegations being made by Nunes and his staff in the memo just don’t line up with reality. They also don’t fit what we know of the processes and procedures required to obtain a FISA warrant. This reads very much like I have concluded X and am now going to argue backwards to demonstrate X.


                  • bmaz says:

                    I would say that Silverman’s timeline is bogus. When he says:

                    The FISA warrant application to surveil Page, let alone the extension request(s), weren’t put before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) until September 2017.

                    He is either stupid or lying. Page was on the radar of the IC going back to 2013 and the first warrant appears to have been in or around mid October 2016. That is at best.




      • pseudonymous in nc says:

        As I hinted upthread, I think it’s a “summer soldier” kind of thing. Gowdy came in on the Tea Party wave, defeated a well-liked incumbent who was not crazy enough for the primary base, spent six years as a thorn in the side of the Obama administration with some prime committee appointments (OGR / Judiciary / HPSCI) and was looking forward to doing the same with Hillary Clinton. Instead, he’s stuck being treated with contempt by departments like HHS.

        SC-4 is R+15 (Jeff Duncan’s SC-3 is R+19) and while the upstate can always produce a challenger further to the right of whoever’s in office, I don’t think Gowdy would worry about a primary. It’s just not fun any more.

      • Peterr says:

        Not wanting to be in the minority after 2018 is one possibility, but that seems passive.

        No, passive would be waiting until next January and finding himself the “ranking member” and not “chairman.” To bow out now, by his own decision, is to act.

        And make no mistake: Gowdy knows just how powerless it is to be in the minority, because he’s rubbed the fact that he’s in the majority in the face of the various ranking members he’s had to deal with. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that he fears a bit of payback from one or more of the Dems he’s stepped on and kicked aside, and wants no part of it. “I won’t give them the satisfaction . . .”

  10. Christopher says:

    Thank you Marcy. Trey is showing his romantic side announcing his retirement from circus. Will he emerge re-incarnated under the Big Top or really is through sweeping up after the elephants.

    • orionATL says:

      yeh, it’s just tops in a cold-eyed view of what is likely going on – as opposed to msm reporting on what some muckty-muck, spinning, says is going on.

      and the commentary is also superb (superbly informative for me) – among the very best i have read at this site and i’ve read a lot of great commentary here over the years.

  11. dalloway says:

    I’m with those who believe Gowdy sees a major shit storm coming and doesn’t want to be anywhere near it.   There are rumors today that Mueller intends to indict Trump, notwithstanding the conventional wisdom that a sitting president can’t be indicted.  The general consensus is that it will be for obstruction of justice, but I don’t think that will be all.  Someone in the intelligence community may have tipped Gowdy that Mueller is willing to risk a court battle over indicting a president because Trump will be also indicted for bribery and conspiring with Russia against the U.S., backed up by mountains of evidence including testimony from co-conspirators and intelligence intercepts of the Russians who own Trump.  Trump’s willingness to damage the FBI and DOJ and to burn intelligence sources by releasing the Nunes memo is just further evidence for Mueller and the intelligence agencies that Trump is a clear and present danger because his loyalty has been bought by a hostile foreign power.  And unlike those of us who are just speculating, they can prove it.

  12. maybe ryan says:

    I suspect you may be right about Gowdy.  Assuming you are, I still don’t get the decision-making.  For people like Gowdy, Corker, Flake.  Going back a decade or so, Sen. Pete Fitzgerald.  Why not go down fighting the bastards?  Fighting the partisan fuckery.  You’re still going to get a congressional pension.  You’ll probably land a good job even if some partisans are angry with you.  I think many of the problems of our system stem from partisans on both sides conceding that the cynicism of their own side is inevitable and understandable rather than fighting against it.

  13. Trip says:

    This was in response to bell, but ended up down here:

    The FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation was based on the book ‘Clinton Cash’ — and fueled by secret recordings

    Peter Schweizer, the author of “Clinton Cash” and an editor at large at the alt-right media outlet Breitbart — whose executive chairman, Stephen Bannon, took a leave of absence to be CEO of the Trump campaign — told NBC in April 2015 that he didn’t have direct evidence proving that Hillary Clinton traded favors for money while she was at the State Department.

      • Trip says:


        It is an important footnote, however, to the memo’s outrage about partisan-financed information being used as a catalyst for FBI investigations.

        • bell says:

          so which is it trip?

          February 1 2018:
          Releasing the memo endangers the United States and its vital intelligence service. It is an assault on our beloved FBI. Releasing the memo is treason!
          February 2 2018:
          The released memo is a nothing burger.

          • Trip says:

            Your comment that I responded to do, had to do with your outrage and shock that purely political material could drive an investigation.

            • Trip says:

              More toward this issue, and a Marcy mention:

              Justice Dept. told court of source’s political influence in request to wiretap ex-Trump campaign aide, officials say
              The court that approved surveillance of a former campaign adviser to President Trump was aware that some of the information underpinning the warrant request was paid for by a political entity, although the application did not specifically name the Democratic National Committee or the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

              A now-declassified Republican memo alleged that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was duped into approving the wiretap request by a politicized FBI and Justice Department. The memo was written by House Intelligence Committee Republicans and alleged a “troubling breakdown of legal processes” flowing from the government’s wiretapping of former Trump aide Carter Page.
              But its central allegation — that the government failed to disclose a source’s political bias — is baseless, the officials said.
              The Justice Department made “ample disclosure of relevant, material facts” to the court that revealed “the research was being paid for by a political entity,” said one official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity….The memo argues that an “essential” part of the warrant application was a dossier outlining alleged ties between Trump and Russia, a document compiled by British ex-spy Christopher Steele, who coordinated the research paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign. But the memo failed to state how significant a role it played in the application, Litt said.
              “If somebody submitted a FISA application that was based entirely on the dossier and left out information that was significant to assessing the credibility of the person who gave you the information, and that information about credibility would have made a difference to the court, I would think that’s significant,” he said.
              “If the dossier was one small factor in a much larger mosaic of information going back four years indicating this man was an agent of a foreign power,” then it would be less significant, he said.
              A potentially damaging allegation is that the FISA application, which was based in part on information from Steele about Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow, also cited a September 2016 Yahoo News article by reporter Michael Isikoff. “This article,” the memo states, “is derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo News.”
              In other words, the memo alleges the Yahoo News article amounted to redundant information.
              Schiff said the article was not included in the application to corroborate Steele. That was one of the memo’s “serious mischaracterizations” about the FISA application.
              Kris said it’s more likely that the Justice Department cited the Yahoo News article “to show that the investigation had become public and that the target [Carter] therefore might take steps to destroy evidence or cover his tracks.”
              The Justice Department “uses lots of consultants who you could argue are not competent,” said Marcy Wheeler, a national security expert who runs the national security blog Emptywheel. Steele, she said, is a competent consultant. “If you want to deal with the issue of consultants in rule of law, you do that systematically; you don’t do that in this one memo.”


  14. Trip says:

    Can someone explain why only 2 people went to read supporting documents on the memo?

    Were they others not permitted to, on the committee?

    • orionATL says:

      i believe the readers were limited by doj to one from each party. limiting readership in this way seems a common precaution taken by gov intelligence on super secret matters.

      • Trip says:



        And I meant “the”, instead of “they”. I switched gears mid sentence in the direction I was going.

  15. JAAG says:

    Could Gowdy have been fundraising in the AM, found out about CIA and FSB circle j..k at lunch and retired in the PM?

    Would be a final straw for me, even if I was a die-hard blowhard.


  16. Repack Rider (Charlie Kelly) says:

    Yeah the retirement notice came out before the some of the recipients had even read the fundraising email. Something changed Gowdy’s life direction 180 degrees in the space of a few hours.

    Gowdy is neither a patriot nor a hero. Something major changed his thinking, and I wonder whether we will ever find out what it was.

  17. SC says:

    Gowdy did say that he was “returning to the justice system” but apparently people in his office told reporters that he has turned down various judgeships that have opened up in the past and that he’s not interested in the current vacancy on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    “There is a time to come and a time to go. This is the right time, for me, to leave politics and return to the justice system,” he said. “Whatever skills I may have are better utilized in a courtroom than in Congress, and I enjoy our justice system more than our political system,” he said. (

    He won his last election by nearly 40 points and even with Trump dragging the GOP down, I think his seat is safe. (Though I’d guess the one thing he could do that would make him unelectable at home is actively prosecuting Trump.) So, who knows what he’s up to? I’d like to say there’s no way he’ll end up on the Supreme Court, or replace Tillerson or Sessions, but Gowdy was on Trump’s transition team . . . so maybe we’ll see him again soon.

  18. Charles says:

    Over on Free Republic, an accurate monitor of “conservative” responses to the news, they are furious at Gowdy and John McCain for giving away the game. So, I tend to agree that Gowdy is making his way down the hawser to make port.

  19. BurkeD says:

    From his statements on Face the Nation on Sunday, I get the sense that there’s a judicial appointment in the offing for him.

  20. Trip says:

    Trey Gowdy, woke? lol:

    Gowdy explained that the memo did not “vindicate” President Donald Trump in the Russia investigation — far from it.
    “It doesn’t — and I was pretty integrally involved in the drafting of it,” Gowdy admitted. “There is a Russia investigation without a dossier. So to the extent the memo deals with the dossier and the FISA process, the dossier has nothing to do with the meeting at Trump Tower. The dossier has nothing to do with an email sent by Cambridge Analytica. The dossier really has nothing to do with George Papadopoulos’ meeting in Great Britain. It also doesn’t have anything to do with obstruction of justice. So there’s going to be a Russia probe, even without a dossier.”

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