Trey Gowdy explains Trump Jr. subpoena

Former South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy is “willing to bet” that Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr’s decision to subpoena Donald Trump Jr. has nothing to do with collusion.

Burr’s move to subpoena President Donald Trump’s son has fired up and divided Senate Republicans, but Gowdy defended the North Carolina senator and suggested “testimonial discrepancy” could be behind the move, during an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Your World.”

(Video: YouTube/Fox News)

“The fact that Richard Burr is issuing a subpoena means the attempts to negotiate a voluntary appearance failed,” Gowdy told Fox News host Neil Cavuto on Friday.

“I know Richard Burr pretty well. He’s not an ambitious person, he’s not running for re-election. He’s one of the few senators not running for president, either now or in the future. So if he’s sending a subpoena, that tells me the private negotiations for voluntary appearance failed,” he explained.

That leaves a question about what the committee is seeking from Trump Jr., the former federal prosecutor continued, noting that Burr said months ago that no evidence of collusion was found by the panel nor by special counsel Robert Mueller.

“Richard Burr is not investigating obstruction of justice because he’s not a prosecutor,” Gowdy, now a Fox News contributor, said. “That means two things, election security and the report that he has yet to publish. And my suspicion is, there is testimonial discrepancy between witnesses. And Chairman Burr is wanting to give one of those witnesses an opportunity to clarify, amplify, otherwise correct a discrepancy.”

Gowdy explained that the collusion angle has “never been the focus of a conversation” he has had with Burr, a conservative who has been in Washington since 1995, serving first in the House then the Senate.

“He has always been much more interested in the counter-intelligence and the election security component. Remember, the Senate Intelligence Committee said no collusion before Mueller did. This is old news to them. So I appreciate what Majority Leader McConnell said about case closed. It’s been closed on collusion for Richard Burr for months,” Gowdy added, referring to McConnell’s remarks this week announcing it is time to move on from the “two years of exhaustive investigation.”

“If he is pursuing and wants to hear again from the president’s son, what is it you suspect he is zeroing in on?” Cavuto asked Gowdy.

“Witness discrepancies,” he replied.

“I would be willing to bet that one witness said the light was red, another witness said the light was green,” he added. “He’s about to publish a report that is going to be consumed by everyone and he wants the report to be fulsome. So if you have witness discrepancy, the fair thing to do is to give those witnesses a chance to say I had inaccurate recollection, a misrecollection, my recollection’s been refreshed. The only way to do that is to invite the witness to come back in voluntarily.”

He speculated that the previous options “did not work” and that despite his reluctance, Burr felt he had to issue the subpoena.

“When this final story is written, Neil, I think you’ll find he offered a voluntary, it didn’t work out and this had nothing to do with collusion or obstruction. It’s about writing a report that you can have confidence in,” Gowdy added, reiterating that if Trump Jr. did comply, he “has no criminal exposure.”

“Richard Burr cannot prosecute him for anything. No criminal exposure, no collusion, that leaves election security and writing a report,” Gowdy concluded.

McConnell sought to cool some of the fire in the wake of the subpoena on Friday, telling Fox News’s Sean Hannity on Thursday that “this is going to have a happy ending.”

(Video: YouTube/Fox News)

“I understand the president’s frustration here. But I think that this is just a blip,” he said. “I think that the case is closed. I think that the controversy has been concluded.”

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Frieda Powers

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