Trey Gowdy breaks from party to support Dems’ use of private hearings. Here is why …

Former GOP Congressman Trey Gowdy appeared to break from Republicans to say he still supports the use of private, closed-door hearings.

The former House Oversight Committee Chairman told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that he preferred the private hearings despite Republicans’ complaints about the secret nature of the proceedings in the current House impeachment inquiry.


(Video: Twitter/Face the Nation)

CBS moderator Margaret Brennan asked Gowdy about his stance in light of comments he made in 2018 when he advocated for the closed-door process rather than the “circus” of pubic hearings.

“Our private hearing was much more constructive than the public hearing,” Gowdy said at the time. “I mean, public hearings are a circus, Margaret. That’s why I don’t like to do them, I don’t do many of them. I mean, it’s a freak show.”

On Sunday, Brennan asked if the former South Carolina lawmaker still stood by his remarks.

“100 percent,” Gowdy replied. “You can’t pick and choose which aspects of due process you’re going to use. It’s not just the privacy. The reason we respect executive-branch investigations isn’t because they’re behind closed doors, it’s because there are no leaks.”

He blasted House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., for “having more press conferences this weekend” than others such as Robert Mueller, US Attorney John Durham and Inspector General Michael Horowitz have had in total.

“I prefer executive-branch investigations because they’re fact-centric, because you wait until the end to draw conclusions and because there are no leaks,” Gowdy said.

“So, I do understand the Republican frustration with the current investigation. My bias has always been toward investigations that wait until the end before they share their conclusions,” he continued. “It’s just not fair to do it on an hour-by-hour basis.”

He also noted the standards used in typical jury trials.

“There’s a reason in courtrooms the judge tells the jury, ‘you can’t even begin the make up your mind until the last witness has testified and the last piece of evidence has been introduced,'” he said. “If it’s good enough for the justice system, why should it not also be good enough for the political system?”

Brennan also asked about reports earlier this month that Gowdy was going to join Trump’s impeachment defense team. The former chairman of the House Select Committee on Beghazi said he had “no idea” if he would be part of the White House team after the one-year restriction on former members of Congress had passed.

“I don’t represent the president as of today. I don’t know what, if anything, will exist in January. It may be over,” Gowdy told Brennan. “My sense is that the president needs folks who can represent now before the House, the Senate and indirectly through television shows and print media.”

Frieda Powers

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