In recent days, House Oversight Committee chair Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) threw cold water on President Trump’s unfounded accusations that the FBI planted spies in his presidential campaign.
Both Gowdy and Ryan said publicly that during a recent classified briefing, they received no information substantiating Trump’s claims, which the president has repeatedly invoked on social media and during his speeches in an effort to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of his campaign.
But if you think Gowdy and Ryan’s comments would be enough to prompt Trump’s House Republican supporters to move on, think again. During a Fox News interview on Thursday afternoon, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) reacted to leading Republicans denouncing “spygate” by accusing Gowdy and Ryan of aiding the nefarious anti-Trump “deep state.”
“These are games that are being played by the some of the Mueller cartel at DOJ,” Gohmert said. “As long as we have a special counsel who will not even confess as to his limits, then this is going to continue to be a problem. As long as we have Republicans in the leadership positions who think it’s okay to have Orwellian spies spy on presidential campaigns of one party, then we have bigger problems than just the briefing.”
Gohmert didn’t provide any evidence, and wasn’t in the briefing with Gowdy and Ryan, but argued that unfounded allegations of spies infiltrating the Trump campaign is the latest indication a second special counsel is needed.
At one point during the interview, host Harris Faulker alluded to Gowdy and Ryan, and pointed out to Cohmert that “these are fellow Republicans. What do you say to them?”
“Well, I know — that’s why I started out by saying when you got Republicans that think it’s okay to spy on their presidential campaign that they didn’t support really whole hog, then that is a major problem,” Gohmert replied. “… I mean, Harris, we’re talking about complete transition from a self-governing society to one where the deep state controls no matter who’s the president, and that is why what we are doing is so very important.”
“It’s a danger when you have somebody like Mueller that grabs people they don’t like and then tries to find a crime,” Gohmert concluded. “And it’s a problem.”
Gohmert isn’t the only Trump-supporting House Republican who feels that Gowdy and Ryan’s comments represent a betrayal. During an interview with Fox Business Network on Wednesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) openly mused about removing Ryan from his role as House Speaker ahead of November’s elections.
“You know I run in the more conservative circles of the House and I have never up until this point heard a single person talk about removing Speaker Ryan from the speakership,” Gaetz said. “Today, for the first time, I was hearing colleagues say, ‘Well, you know, if Speaker Ryan won’t stand with us in this fight over the essentials of our democracy, not weaponizing an intelligence community against a presidential campaign, do we need to look at other choices?'”
Even after Gowdy said there’s nothing to Trump’s allegations, the White House has sought to keep the waters muddy. During a press briefing last week, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders responded to Gowdy’s comments by saying “clearly, there’s still cause for concern that needs to be looked at.”
“The president is concerned about the matter, and we’re going to continue to follow the issue,” Sanders added.
Like Trump, Sanders provided no evidence for her allegations.