U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., broke with his Republican colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday over their conclusions in an investigation of President Donald Trump's campaign ties to Russia.
Gowdy released a statement Tuesday after Republicans on the House intelligence committee said they had ended the panel's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
While House Republicans accepted the intelligence community's claims of Russian interference, they dismissed the idea that Russia's intent was to elect Trump president.
But Gowdy, who also serves on the intelligence committee, said Tuesday it was "clear, based on the evidence, Russia had disdain for Secretary Clinton and was motivated in whole or in part by a desire to harm her candidacy or undermine her Presidency had she prevailed."
Politico quoted a source close to Gowdy as thinking "there's no difference between opposing Clinton and backing Trump in what had become, effectively, a two-person race." The source added that Gowdy "disagrees with the conclusion" that the intelligence agencies got it wrong.
The former Spartanburg prosecutor did agree with his colleagues' conclusion that they had found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
Gowdy had previously criticized a memo written by committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., that criticized the FBI's investigation of Russian ties to Trump campaign figures as politically motivated. Gowdy said the memo shouldn't have "any impact on the Russia probe."
A key player in House investigations of both Trump and Hillary Clinton, Gowdy announced he won't seek re-election this year.
The end of the House investigation doesn't effect the probe of special counsel Robert Mueller, which is ongoing.
Gowdy's complete statement:
“Over the course of our year long investigation, the Committee interviewed a total of 73 witnesses. I asked every witness I questioned for evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between Donald Trump, his official campaign, or those who represented they had some connection with him, and the Russian government. I specifically asked witnesses about the hacking of the DNC server, the unlawful accessing of John Podesta's emails, and the dissemination of materials acquired during either of those intrusions. No witness provided evidence — direct or circumstantial — of collusion, coordination or conspiracy.
It remains clear Russia sought to sow the seeds of discord and challenge the reliability of the 2016 election cycle. Russia is not our friend. Russia will do what it can, when it can, to undermine the foundations of our democracy.
It is also clear, based on the evidence, Russia had disdain for Secretary Clinton and was motivated in whole or in part by a desire to harm her candidacy or undermine her Presidency had she prevailed.
It is crystal clear Russia's ultimate goal was to turn Americans against Americans, undercut our confidence in the electoral process, and sow the seeds of discord. On that measure, we are in direct control—as Americans—of whether they succeed or not."