Gowdy criticizes Trump’s Putin invitation
By ELI OKUN
House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy chastised President Donald Trump for inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to Washington, saying Sunday that the White House needs to be tougher with Moscow. He also argued that some members of Trump’s administration might wish to quit over concerns about Russia.
“The fact that we have to talk to you about Syria or other matters is very different from issuing an invitation,” Gowdy said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Those should be reserved for, I think, our allies.”
The South Carolina Republican also suggested that some members of the administration may need to consider leaving if Trump continues to disregard their advice to stand firm against Russia.
That concern has dominated discourse in Washington since Trump’s summit with Putin in Helsinki last week, at which he spoke more harshly of the FBI than of Russia.
“It can be proven beyond any evidentiary burden that Russia is not our friend and they tried to attack us in 2016,” Gowdy told host Bret Baier. “So the president either needs to rely on the people that he has chosen to advise him, or those advisers need to reevaluate whether or not they can serve in this administration. But the disconnect cannot continue.”
Earlier this weekend, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman penned an op-ed for a Utah newspaper in which he said he would not resign, saying he felt he is very much needed in the role.
Gowdy struck a tone of admonishment on Trump’s refusal to side with the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment of Russian electoral meddling — comments that the president later partially walked back.
“I’m glad he corrected it,” Gowdy said, “but when you’re the leader of the free world, every syllable matters.”
Still, Gowdy urged Trump to separate concerns about Russian interference from the investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
“I have not seen one scintilla of evidence that this president colluded, conspired, confederated with Russia,” he said. “And neither has anyone else, or you may rest assured Adam Schiff would have leaked it,” he said, referring to the Democratic congressman from California.
Congressional Democrats continued Sunday to be skeptical of the response of their Republican colleagues on the Russia issue.
“When it comes to defending the country, they’re not willing to follow through” Schiff said on ABC’s “This Week.”