Fox News contributor Trey Gowdy asks what was the predicate of the Trump-Russia investigation in an interview with Martha MacCallum on Tuesday.
MARHTA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS: We begin tonight with Trey Gowdy. Former House Oversight Committee chairman, and now, a Fox News contributor. Trey, always good to see you. Thank you for being here tonight.
FMR. REP. TREY GOWDY (R-SC), FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, ma'am. Yes, ma'am.
MACCALLUM: You know, I want to get actually first to the sound bite that we just played. You say that whoever is looking into this. In this case, it's Mr. Durham, and I want to get your thoughts on that in a minute. But you say they should definitely look at the Brennan-Comey FBI e-mails in summer of 2016?
GOWDY: December of 2016.
MACCALLUM: December of 2016, thank you.
GOWDY: You know, over the weekend, Senator Graham is really, really exercised over the lack of corroboration of this dossier that was used in court filings. So, the question then becomes, was it unverified, uncorroborated when you used it? And then, when did you began to corroborate it?
And what I'm telling Mr. Durham, or whoever is going to look into this, I think you'll see late in 2016. Well, after it had been used, it was still unverified. And the people responsible for we're referring to it as unverified. And one of the other demanded that it be included in the intelligence assessment which then leaked, which then prompted the discussion you and I are having now publicly.
MACCALLUM: Yes, there is a statement that just came out this evening, that Catherine Herridge has been reporting, and I think we have that. We can put on the screen, but the gist of it is that, that Brennan -- John Brennan is pushing back on all of this today.
So clearly, he knows that there is now another investigation into it. He heard, of course, Attorney General Barr, say that "I'm not just interested in the FBI, I'm also interested in the other agencies which, of course, would point sensibly at John Brennan who was the head of the CIA at the time.
So, the statement tonight, or the finding in the reporting of Catherine Herridge tonight says, that John Brennan says that he and James Clapper did not want to include the dossier. That it was James Comey, who insisted on including the dossier, as they were doing the investigation and also in the intelligence report that was presented to President Trump. What do you think about that, Tray?
GOWDY: I think that it's one more place for Mr. Durham to start. That's a pretty easy thing to sort out who insisted that the dossier or the unverified material from Chris Steele be included.
But Martha, sometimes, when you have two people and tell you having been in a courtroom, sometimes when two people are blaming each other, they're both right -- it's both of them. And I think it's interesting Brennan and Comey right now, the only thing they seemed this year is a hatred for Donald Trump. It's going to be interesting if they begin to turn on one another.
I've seen the document, I'm not going to describe it any more than that. Comey has got a better argument than Brennan, based on what I've seen.
MACCALLUM: Well, that's interesting. Comey-Brennan was talking about this, this afternoon on another cable channel. And he -- you know, he's very defensive, obviously, about the need for any further investigation here. And here is what he said about what they were -- what they were doing, what they were looking into.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: I think they're just trying to -- you know, demonstrate that there was -- you know, problems with what the Obama administration did as far as, as it pursued this investigation.
But as you point out, it went through a rigorous due process within the Department of Justice, the FBI. It was approved by the FISA Court. It went through all of those steps.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: You know, the other thing that they made -- that they were emphatic about in that interview was that the FISA Court has an extremely high bar. They said there's no way that they would have approved to any wiretap, any -- you know, surveillance of Carter Page if they didn't have that whole thing down cold.
They say they don't just to prove these things willy-nilly. We've heard differently that they -- that the bar is actually quite low for approving them. What do you say?
GOWDY: Well, the judges are not investigators, they're only as good as the information presented to them, which is why you make the applicant swear out. You swear out an application. And when the FBI is telling you that this information has been verified, and when they're telling you it's been investigated, and it's been corroborated.
The judge has to rely on that. They don't get to go conduct their own separate investigations, which is why it's really important to ask the FBI agents and Comey, if you verify this information before it's used, which we know you did not. But if your position is you did, tell us how.
I'm seeing the spreadsheet, Martha. I have seen each factual assertion listed in that dossier, and then I've seen the FBI's justification. And when you're citing newspaper articles as corroboration for a factual assertion that you have made, you don't need an FBI agent, you go do a Google search. And when the name Sidney Blumenthal is included as part of your corroboration, and you're the world's leading law enforcement agency, you have a problem.
And you can blame it on the FISA Court if you want to, but I hope Brennan is smart enough to know judges don't investigate, they have to rely on the honest word of the people presenting it to them. And if that honest word is missing, then the judge is going to make the wrong decision.
MACCALLUM: All right, there's another report tonight coming in from The New York Times, which suggests, you know, citing sources that are close to Mr. Durham or the Department of Justice or both. That this is just a review that he's just going to look over the Mueller report, and he's going to figure out whether or not there needs to be an investigation.
Now, my understanding, and I want to hear what you think about this, is that the reason that they -- that the DOJ wanted to have a U.S. attorney look into this is because they actually have a prosecutorial power. They might be able to actually get to the bottom of this if there is indeed some sort of criminal behavior, and, you know, that's way off at this point.
The other difference is that unlike in an Inspector General at an agency, they can look at people who used to work there. Not just people who work there. Is that accurate?
GOWDY: Yes ma'am, you put your finger. I'm a big Michael Horowitz fan, but you put your finger on the reason that many of us called for a second special counsel. A year ago, Horowitz doesn't have access to the grand jury. He doesn't have access to former employees. He's a wonderful investigator, but he's only as good as the tools he's given.
Durham has access to a grand jury, and he has access to search warrants, and he has access to subpoenas, and he's got access to any witness he wants to talk to. So, that's your A-number one investigation.
GOWDY: But, you know, Horowitz is the one who found the Strzok-Page text, and Horowitz is the one who dinged Jim Comey for that press conference.
MACCALLUM: That's right.
GOWDY: So, the more the merrier. I just -- it's been two years now. And I think the country would like to know from someone they can trust what was the factual predicate, not for the Russia investigation, but for the inter melding of the Russia investigation with the Trump campaign. Give us the factual predicate, and we'll decide whether or not it was sufficient or not.
MACCALLUM: Trey, thank you very much. Trey Gowdy, good to see you tonight, sir.
GOWDY: Yes, ma'am. You, too.