Former House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., told "Sunday Morning Futures" that America needs "an FBI that we can trust," following the release of explosive internal FBI documents on the investigation into then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
The FBI documents showed top bureau officials discussed their motivations for interviewing Flynn in the White House in January 2017 -- and openly questioned if their "goal" was "to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired."
The handwritten notes -- written by the FBI's former head of counterintelligence Bill Priestap after a meeting with then-FBI Director James Comey and then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Fox News is told -- further suggested that agents planned in the alternative to get Flynn "to admit to breaking the Logan Act" when he spoke to then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition period. The Logan Act is an obscure statute that has never been used in a criminal prosecution; enacted in 1799 in an era before telephones, it was intended to prevent individuals from falsely claiming to represent the United States government abroad.
"We need an FBI that we can trust and what I read in these notes, is not the FBI I used to work with," Gowdy, a Fox News contributor, said.
"What is our goal?" one of the notes read. "Truth/Admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?"
Another note read, "If we get him to admit to breaking the Logan Act, give facts to DOJ + have them decide."
The memo appeared to weigh the pros and cons of pursuing those different paths. "I don't see how getting someone to admit their wrongdoing is going easy on him," one note read. Flynn did not admit to wrongdoing in the interview.
The document indicated that the agents at least discussed the merits of a by-the-book approach: "If we’re seen as playing games, WH [White House] will be furious."
The bombshell materials strongly suggested the agents weren't truly concerned about Flynn's intercepted contacts with Kislyak during the presidential transition period, except as a pretext.
The materials surfaced as Attorney General Bill Barr has continued to oversee the DOJ's investigation into the handling of the Flynn case. Flynn previously charged that top FBI officials, including McCabe, pressed him not to have the White House counsel present during the questioning with two agents that led to his guilty plea on a single charge of lying to federal investigators. Flynn was not charged with any Logan Act violation.
When host Maria Bartiromo asked Gowdy what struck him most when he reviewed the new documents he said, "That there was absolutely no evidence that Michael Flynn was an agent of a foreign power."
Internal FBI documents unsealed Thursday indicated that Peter Strzok -- the now-disgraced anti-Trump former head of FBI counterintelligence -- ordered the investigation of Flynn to remain open even after it was slated to be closed due to a lack of so-called "derogatory" information.
"The entire time they spent looking at him in December of 2016, they had nothing," Gowdy noted.
"They're about to close the investigation without even interviewing him, keep in mind they had no interest in interviewing Michael Flynn," he continued. "They're about to close the case, then you get the call with Kislyak and Peter Strzok seems more interested in setting up an American general than he is figuring out what the Russian generals were doing to this country."
He added, "They send two agents over there without informing the White House, without informing the Department of Justice, and they wanted to set him up. That is not the FBI that this country needs."
Bartiromo then asked Gowdy, "will we see accountability?"
"Accountability takes consensus," Gowdy said in response.
He noted that it would have been difficult to find "a single Democrat" in the House who would have been interested "at looking into the treatment of the FBI."
"When I was there, the Democrats finally found a cop that they liked. Unfortunately, his name was Peter Strzok, whose only interest in this investigation was if it would lead to the impeachment of Donald Trump," Gowdy continued. "So, accountability requires consensus. Where is it?"
Fox News' Gregg Re and Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo contributed to this report.