Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., on Friday said, as incoming chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, he planned to break away from high-profile hearings, such as the Russia and obstruction of justice probes, and focus on more mundane governmental activities.
"No. 1: It's in the jurisdiction of [special counsel] Bob Mueller," Gowdy told reporters. "And secondarily, I would think Judiciary has jurisdiction over the Department of Justice and the FBI.
"To the extent that any of those memos are classified, that would be [Intelligence]. And for those that think a third committee ought to look at it, Oversight would have secondary permissive jurisdiction, but it would be secondary," he added.
The bottom line is, under his chairmanship, the Oversight Committee will not be one more group investigating Russia meddling in the U.S. 2016 presidential election or obstruction of justice charges against President Donald Trump, except as it might relate to secondary matters, Politico reported Friday.
Gowdy, who has called Mueller a "quintessential straight arrow," said he wanted to return the Oversight Committee to its original "compulsory" jurisdiction, which oversees issues like government procurement and the Census.
The Russia probe was more in line with the jurisdiction of the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, Gowdy maintained. He is also a member of the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating the allegations against Russia.
Gowdy is taking over as chair of the Oversight Committee after Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, announced he was resigning at the end of the month to pursue a career in television, the article stated. Chaffetz was leading the committee to a greater involvement in the Russia probe and had asked former FBI Director James Comey for his memos about Trump and the agency's investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
What the Oversight Committee might do involving the Russia investigation would be to examine questions regarding who should get security clearances, but any criminal allegations would be left to Mueller's investigation, Gowdy maintained.
"Allegations of criminal or quasi-criminal activity is squarely within Mueller's jurisdiction," Gowdy said. "So, the process by which security clearances are granted, if that needs to be tightened, amended, changed, I'm all for it. The revocation of previously existing security clearances. . . . we don't investigate crime."
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