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A transcript of an interaction between the FBI and a Trump campaign associate believed to be George Papadopoulos casts doubt on the validity of Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation, former Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy said in an interview Sunday.
“I was supportive of [Robert] Mueller. I was supportive of the idea to initiate, to investigate what Russia did, but when I saw this transcript, it actually changed my perspective,” Gowdy told Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” reported the Daily Caller.
The FBI claims Papadopoulos was the catalyst for its counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign, which led to Mueller’s special counsel probe. Mueller’s team focused on the former Trump adviser’s meetings with Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud, Australian diplomat Alexander Downer and Stefan Halper, a former Cambridge professor who was identified as an FBI informant.
Gowdy said in a May interview on Fox News that the FBI transcript would be a “game-changer” if it were released. Republicans have hinted it contains exculpatory information. But the transcript was not provided to the top secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court when the Obama Justice Department and FBI sought to obtain warrants to spy on the Trump campaign, Gowdy said. The warrant applications mentioned Papadopoulos and cited the unverified, anti-Trump dossier funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign.
In May, Attorney General William Barr appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate the origins of the charge of Trump campaign collusion with Russia.
Gowdy said he has found a pattern of bias in the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign.
“When you have exculpatory information and you don’t share it with the court, when you give two different kinds of defensive briefings to the candidates depending on who you like and who you don’t, then you’re bias begins to impact the investigation,” he said.
“That’s what what I thought when I saw the transcript, but your viewers should be entitled to make up their own minds,” Gowdy said.
The Australian diplomat Downer wrote in a memo that he told Papadopoulos in London that Russia might release information about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton close to the election. Papadopoulos said the alleged FBI informant Halper asked him whether he or the Trump campaign was working with Russia to meddle in the 2016 election. He has said he denied working with Russia.
Mueller’s report concluded there was no evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russia.
Papadopoulos, however, pleaded guilty to making false statements when he claimed he met with Mifsud prior to joining the Trump team in March 2016.
In a May interview with Fox News, Gowdy said he has seen an email in which then-FBI Director James Comey indicated that then-CIA Director John Brennan insisted on including the anti-Trump dossier in the Intelligence Community report concluding Russia interfered in the 2016 election.