(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Trey Gowdy, the retiring Republican who helped write the memo that raises questions about FBI procedures, says the memo has no impact on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.
"Not to me it doesn't," Gowdy told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday. "And I was pretty intricately involved in the drafting of it.
"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 in Trump Tower. The dossier has nothing to do with an e-mail 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 is going to be a Russia probe even without a dossier,"Gowdy said.
Later in the interview, Gowdy repeated that the Russia investigation would still be taking place even if the FBI had not improperly used the dossier to obtain a FISA warrant:
"I'm actually in a really small group, I think, of Republicans that think that this FISA process is suspect and wrong and should not have taken place," Gowdy said. "But you still have a Russia investigation even without it. So, I don't know how many other Republicans feel that way. I am on record as saying I support Bob Mueller 100 percent. I think you would have a Russia -- look, Russia tried to interfere with our election in 2016 with or without a dossier.
"So, you need an investigation into Russia. You need an investigation into Trump Tower and the Cambridge Analytica e-mail separate and apart from the dossier. So, those are not connected issues to me. They may be for other Republicans, but they're not for me. I say investigate everything Russia did, but admit that this was a really sloppy process that you have engaged in to surveil a U.S. citizen."
Gowdy also noted that the Russia investigation is not over, "so I'm not going to prejudge the outcome of it. I have seen no evidence of collusion between President Trump and the Russians or his campaign and the Russians," Gowdy continued.
"But I would ask my fellow citizens, keep these three things disconnected. Bob Mueller is looking into what Russia did in 2016 and potential criminality, as evidenced by the Papadopoulos plea and the Flynn plea.
"Congress is looking in to what Russia did in 2016, but, oh, by the way, it's also -- you can do that and also be critical of the use of the dossier and the failure to tell the FISA court of all relevant material facts. You can do all three. And that's where I am."
President Trump holds a different opinion, however, tweeting on Saturday: "This memo totally vindicates 'Trump' in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!"
Trump issued two more tweets on Saturday, quoting the Wall Street Journal:
“The four page memo released Friday reports the disturbing fact about how the FBI and FISA appear to have been used to influence the 2016 election and its aftermath....The FBI failed to inform the FISA court that the Clinton campaign had funded the dossier....the FBI became a tool of anti-Trump political actors. This is unacceptable in a democracy and ought to alarm anyone who wants the FBI to be a nonpartisan enforcer of the law....The FBI wasn’t straight with Congress, as it hid most of these facts from investigators.” Wall Street Journal."
On Sunday, Rep. Gowdy described himself as a big supporter of the FBI: "I have tremendous respect for the bureau. There are 30,000 employees. Let's assume that there are five that engaged in conduct that we have questions about," Gowdy said.
"That leaves a lot that are doing exactly what we want them to do."
Gowdy also seemed to give those senior leaders a pass:
"I think we've got to get to the -- some point in life where you can disagree with the decision-making process that someone engaged in without believing that they are corrupt or somehow part of the deep state, whatever that means."
Asked if he thinks there should be leadership changes at the FBI and the Justice Department, Gowdy replied, "Well, I think the folks that he picked, Chris Wray and Rod Rosenstein, can effectuate those changes.
"Rod Rosenstein is a former United States attorney. And, again, I have differences with the way that they discharge their responsibilities, but there is a wide gulf between me having differences from somebody and think that they should lose their job.
"I'm really impressed with Chris Wray. To Chris' defense, he didn't want the memo to come out. He's speaking up for his agency. But Congress is the one who created FISA. In fact, Congress created the FBI. So, there's going to be good branch tension. It doesn't mean someone should lose their job. It doesn't mean they're corrupt.
"But it also doesn't mean Congress is not legitimate in asking these questions, because I think we are."