Ryan backs Gowdy, breaks with Trump on FBI conduct in Russia probe

With President Donald Trump continuing to charge that the FBI intentionally spied on his campaign, House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday said he agreed with another top Republican who said key lawmakers had seen no evidence of misconduct by the FBI when it came to the Trump Campaign and the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

"I think Chairman Gowdy's initial assessment is accurate," the Speaker said of Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), who said last week that a late May briefing provided to a small group of lawmakers showed no evidence that the FBI did anything wrong.

"I have seen no evidence to the contrary of the initial assessment that Chairman Gowdy has made," the Speaker told reporters, though he said they will continue to review how the FBI dealt with questions of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, and any possible ties to the Trump Campaign.

"I want to make sure that we run every lead down, and get the final answers to these questions," the Speaker added.

Gowdy last week went on Fox News and poured cold water on President Trump's charge - which Mr. Trump has labeled "SPYGATE" - that the FBI had 'infiltrated' his campaign.

Instead, Gowdy - and now Speaker Ryan - say the FBI was simply doing its job, in trying to find out if there were any ties between Russia and people working on the Trump Campaign.

“I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do, when they got the information they got, and that it has nothing to do with Donald Trump,” Gowdy said last week in a series of television interviews.

That assessment drew criticism from some more conservative lawmakers and others within the Republican Party, who have echoed, and egged on the President's charge of FBI misconduct.

As recently as last night, Mr. Trump was on Twitter making that case, alleging abuses by the FBI and the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Critics of Gowdy have said lawmakers were provided no documents to back up his view that the FBI did nothing wrong - but the Speaker seemed to indicate to reporters that top members in both parties had been presented with some kind of evidence.

"We're waiting for some more document requests, we're waiting for more documents to review, we still have some more questions," the Speaker said.

Another Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL), also ridiculed the President's "SPYGATE" accusations, telling POLITICO, they just aren't backed up by any evidence.

Democrats said the comments of Speaker Ryan, Gowdy, and others show that the President is getting into the territory of conspiracy theories.

"With Speaker Ryan rebuking the President's "spygate" false narrative, Trump is finding himself increasingly alone in his baseless attacks on our law enforcement institutions," said Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY).

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