Former Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) slammed Democrats for their uneventful hearing with former Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
On Wednesday, Mueller testified before two House committees to answer any lingering questions from House Democrats about his two-year-long investigation into President Donald Trump‘s 2016 presidential campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
Mueller found that Russians did work to meddle in American democracy, but he did not find evidence of criminal conspiracy and declined to press charges relating to obstruction of justice.
During an interview on “America’s Newsroom” on Fox News, Gowdy told host Sandra Smith Mueller’s testimony a “trainwreck” for the Democrats.
Watch Gowdy’s remarks:
“[The hearing was] a trainwreck. An unmitigated disaster. You know, expectations always outpace the reality with congressional hearings, but the disparity yesterday was pretty stark. And Sandra, I’ve been part of some dud congressional hearings myself. Yesterday was just a disaster.”
Gowdy noted that Mueller tended to claim questions were “out of his purview,” rather than address some questions. He said that he wished some Republicans would have pushed him to give better explanations, though he believed his former GOP colleagues were “really well prepared.”
“The only thing I would probably have done is follow up. When Mueller says, ‘well that was out of my purview.’ Why? How in the world can a meeting that took place the day before Trump Tower and the day after Trump Tower — how can those meetings be outside your purview, but the Trump Tower be in your purview? […] I would have beaten the hell out of that exoneration [of Trump from Mueller]. No prosecutor in the country that’s ever set out to exonerate someone else. Follow up, but in terms of the original questions I thought the Republicans were really well prepared.”
As IJR previously reported, some Democrats are hesitant to let the Mueller probe drop, despite the fact that the special counsel failed to find evidence of a criminal conspiracy. As for obstruction, Gowdy defended Trump’s actions, noting that the president was being forced to defend himself from accusations that he committed crimes as bad as treason.
“You are presumed innocent unless something else happens. You have no duty to prove your own innocence. In fact, you can’t prove your own innocence. […] Sixty Democrats wanted to impeach President Trump before Mueller said a single solitary word in his report. How would you react if you were accused of a crime for which you could be hanged? What would your reaction be? I mean, I think your defense would be pretty vigorous. So where he line between vigorously defending yourself against a capital crime in a political environment and obstruction is? I think most Americans would say, ‘You know what? I’d fight pretty hard, too, if someone was trying to delegitimize my presidency and accuse me of a crime for which I could be hanged.'”
It remains unclear how Democrats will move forward in their efforts against Trump following Mueller’s hearing.