Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.) brushed away an MSNBC question Monday about whether Russian interference in U.S. elections was more significant than Hillary Clinton's ongoing email scandal, saying both of them were serious issues for the country.
Gowdy is the chair of the House Benghazi Committee, whose probe led to the discovery of Clinton's private email server use at the State Department. He came on Morning Joe to discuss the FBI's announcement that it is looking into newly discovered emails as part of a reopened probe into Clinton's email practices.
Liberal columnist Mike Barnicle asked if the documented Russian interference in the U.S. elections was a more serious matter to him than Clinton's email scandal. Barnicle, like other left-leaning members of the media, has often downplayed the Clinton scandal during his frequent Morning Joe appearances.
"There are several elements going on in this campaign, obviously, many of them upsetting to millions and millions of voters," Barnicle said. "But one of the things that goes unspoken in large extent is Russian interference in the American political process. Would you care to rank, in terms of priority, Hillary Clinton's emails versus the clearly established Russian interference in our electoral process? Which is more important?"
After making sure he heard the question clearly, Gowdy said, "Is it an option that they're both important, or do I have to pick between the two?"
"Well, you can do whatever you choose to do, obviously, but I mean, which concerns you more?" Barnicle asked.
"Both," Gowdy said. "I don't think I have to pick between the two. I think foreign interference in our election is terrible, and I think mishandling classified information is terrible … They're both important, they both ought to be looked into, and it's not up to me which is more deleterious to our republic."