South Carolina U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy said he is extremely concerned about emails released by President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Jr., on Tuesday which showed the younger Trump arranged to meet with what he thought was a Russian government attorney last summer for information that he hoped could “incriminate” Hillary Clinton during the campaign.
Gowdy appeared frustrated in an interview with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum on Tuesday, saying he has concerns with the legality of Trump, Jr.’s actions, the political impact and what he called “the amnesia of people that are in the Trump orbit.”
“Someone close to the president needs to get everyone connected with that campaign in a room and say, from the time you saw ‘Dr. Zhivago’ until the moment you drank vodka with a guy named Boris, you list every single one of those and we’re going to turn them over to the special counsel,” he said. “Because this drip, drip, drip is undermining the credibility of this administration.”
Trump, Jr., attempted to get ahead of a pending New York Times article by posting emails about the meeting himself. The line getting the most attention was from a publicist Rob Goldstone, who told the younger Trump in an email that a “Russian government attorney” had offered his father “official documents and information” that would “incriminate” Clinton and her “Russian dealings.” The email concluded it was part of the Russia “government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
“If it’s what you say I love it,” Trump Jr. replied, according to the emails. He later met with the attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya that summer. When first confronted about the meeting this past weekend, Trump Jr. said Veselnitskaya never provided any consequential information and instead pushed for Trump to remove sanctions against certain Russian individuals. Veselnitskaya has denied being part of the Russian government, although the emails suggest Goldstone and Trump Jr. believed she was.
Gowdy declined to say if he felt the meeting was illegal, deferring instead to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation of Russian links with Trump’s campaign staff. “I’m going to let Bob Mueller sort out all the criminality,” he said. “That is not the job of members of Congress. And it’s not the job of the New York Times.”
He said the meeting “may amount to nothing,” but the continuing flow of news about links between Trump’s campaign staffers and Russian agents is preventing Republicans from moving forward on their party’s agenda.
“Here we are on a Tuesday on a week we ought to be discussing infrastructure or tax reform and we’re still talking about Russia,” he said. “And, frankly, with some good reason. Because this email, we should’ve known about it before (Monday).”
Gowdy is helping lead the House Intelligence Committee’s probe of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. He told Fox News he was not aware of the Goldstone-Trump Jr. emails until this week.