Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. voiced his doubts that the FBI wiretapped Trump Tower in 2016, but said if it happened, the Trump administration will have the proof.
President Donald Trump on Saturday alleged that, based on recent reports, former President Barack Obama ordered wiretapping on Trump Tower last fall.
— POLITICO (@politico) March 6, 2017
“I don’t think the FBI is the Obama team and I don’t think the men and women who are career prosecutors at DOJ belong to any team other than a blindfolded woman holding a pair of scales,” Gowdy said.
Former Obama administration officials have denied Trump’s claim.
Gowdy said that protocols that are in place ensure that surveillance powers are not misused.
“We have the tools to keep us safe and it’s prudent for those tools to be used lawfully and appropriately,” Gowdy said. “If they’re not used lawfully and appropriately, there’s a paper trail and we’ll be able to find it out.”
Gowdy said it was “hard to cross-examine tweets” but that an investigation is necessary due to the public, and serious, nature of the charge Trump leveled.
“I need witnesses, I need documents,” he said.
Gowdy said that if the surveillance was done, there are only two routes. American citizens can either be wiretapped as part of a criminal inquiry, or an intelligence inquiry under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
“There is no other way for it lawfully to be done,” he said. “The good news about both of those … is there’s a paper trail. There’s an application. There are warrants — all of which can be reviewed.”
“The Obama team is no longer in charge,” he said. “So any information the current Department of Justice has that suggests the previous Department of Justice acted inappropriately, they are welcome to release it.”
Gowdy on Monday also dismissed as premature any calls for any special prosecutor to investigate Russian links to Trump’s campaign
“There is no special prosecutor statute. There is no independent counsel statute. There’s a regulation that allows for the appointment of special counsel if the Department of Justice has a conflict and if all 92 U.S. attorneys have a conflict. Until that evidentiary burden has been satisfied, I don’t know why Republicans or Democrats are talking about special counsel,” he said.
“It’s too early. Special counsel only applies to a criminal investigation,” he said, also adding that the FBI would be the agency to investigate a potential crime.