Trey Gowdy breaks from GOP to support private hearings: 'Wait until the end'

Closed-door hearings are preferable to public spectacles and can be a positive thing, so long as they aren't compromised by selective leaking, former House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said Sunday.

Gowdy, who is joining President Trump's legal team, appeared on CBS News' "Face the Nation" to discuss the impeachment probe and was asked if he still believed private hearings were preferable to public hearings.

Host Margaret Brennan mentioned comments Gowdy made in April 2018 about private hearings being less like a "circus," and asked if he still stood by those sentiments.

"100 percent," Gowdy replied. "You can’t pick and choose which aspects of due process you’re going to use. It’s not just the privacy. The reason we respect executive-branch investigations isn’t because they’re behind closed doors, it’s because there are no leaks."

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He said it's paramount to wait until the end of an investigation to share the findings in full, and not to allow biased, trickled-out information to drive public opinion, along with the direction of the probe.

"I prefer executive-branch investigations because... you wait until the end to draw conclusions and because there are no leaks," Gowdy said. "So, I do understand the Republican frustration with the current investigation. My bias has always been toward investigations that wait until the end before they share their conclusions.

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"It’s just not fair to do it on an hour-by-hour basis," he continued.

Gowdy also claimed average jury trials had stricter standards than the Trump impeachment inquiry.

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"There's a reason in courtrooms the judge tells the jury, 'you can’t even begin the make up your mind until the last witness has testified and the last piece of evidence has been introduced,'" he said. "If it’s good enough for the justice system, why should it not also be good enough for the political system?"

While Gowdy supported private hearings in principle, he frequently has bashed the Democrats' overall impeachment inquiry. "This has been a disaster from day one and I don't expect that to change," he told Fox News last month.

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