We still don’t know exactly what Trump’s son-in-law and presidential counselor Jared Kushner said behind closed doors about colluding with Russia in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, but we now know that some things were not said.
Thanks to the constant interference of Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), one of the Republican leaders of the committee, questions many of the Democrats wanted to ask were pushed aside, rejected, or ruled too similar to earlier queries.
Instead of being a professional who wants to get to the truth, Gowdy ran interference for Kushner:
“Mr. Gowdy took the role as a second attorney for Mr. Kushner,” a frustrated Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) told reporters, according to Bloomberg News.
“When Kushner and lawmakers emerged from the meeting,” reported Bloomberg, “Democrats said Gowdy ran interference on behalf of Kushner during the questioning.”
Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut said Democrats got hit with “pushback” from Gowdy to their questions,” added Bloomberg’s Billy House.
“Himes said Gowdy repeatedly complained that Democrats’ questions were repetitive and sought to block follow-up inquiries.”
Democrats complained they were not given documents they sought from Kushner and were not allowed to dig into important leads including Kushner’s efforts to create a secret back channel to Vladimir and Putin.
What a difference from 2016, when Gowdy led a Republican-driven, highly political probe into Hillary Clinton’s handling of the tragic Benghazi terrorist attacks.
At one hearing, Gowdy pounded Clinton for 11 hours worth of questions, many of them repetitive, about her response to the 2012 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya.
In that case, Clinton spoke in public and answered all questions. That didn’t stop Gowdy from repeatedly calling for Secretary Clinton to be prosecuted during the 2016 campaign.
With Kushner, by contrast, and Republicans calling the shots, the hearing behind closed doors was done in the most secretive way possible. Frustrated Democrats were left with lots of questions and a number of leads to follow.
Gowdy, who acted aggressively and was mean to Secretary Clinton, justified the closed door choice by blaming his fellow Congressman for not being civil.
Why is Kushner being interviewed behind closed doors? "Because congress simply can't be trusted in front of cameras" – Trey Gowdy
— James M Dryden (@JamesMDryden1) July 24, 2017
The Republican involvement with the Kushner hearing had been tainted even before it began. The original Republican chairman of the intel committee, Devin Nunes (R-CA) was forced to step aside after it was revealed he had leaked information from the investigation to Trump even before he shared it with other members of the committee.
One of those elevated by the Republicans to replace Nunes was Gowdy, a former prosecutor and a member of the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement.
Interestingly, Gowdy may have other reasons to do Trump’s bidding. When Trump was putting together his cabinet, Gowdy was one of those he considered for Attorney General before he chose Sessions.
Now with Sessions out of favor at the White House and possibly headed out the door, Trump might turn to Gowdy again to do his bidding and subvert or even kill the investigation into Trump’s collision with Russia.
Trump likes those who are loyal and Gowdy is proving he is exactly that and will be as political, spiteful and partisan as necessary to serve the Trump agenda.
Trump has proven that while he expects loyalty, he often doesn’t reciprocate. Trump has also shown he likes to play fast and dirty to get a win, no matter the consequences.
Gowdy seems like the perfect yes man to serve a president with no morals, no conscience, and no qualms about going after anyone who opposes him.
They deserve each other.