What has Trey Gowdy been smoking?

Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, dismissed the notion, propagated by President Trump, that the FBI had a “spy” in the Trump campaign. He said the FBI did what it “should have done” and that informants such as the one used by the FBI are used “all day, every day by law enforcement.”

Gowdy told Fox News on Tuesday that, after a classified briefing on the subject, “I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do.”

.. Earlier, Gowdy took issue with his fellow Republicans’ claims that Russia didn’t try to help Trump win the election, saying it was “clear based on the evidence” that Russia sought to defeat Hillary Clinton. And he didn’t join other Republicans in their categorical claim that there was no Trump campaign collusion with Russia.

.. He also defended the broad mandate of the Mueller investigation, and he delivered a blunt message to Trump to talk to Mueller and give him time and independence: If Trump is innocent, then “act like it.”

.. Actually, we know exactly what Gowdy is smoking: the sweet herb of retirement.

.. Several of the 48 departing House Republicans have, like Gowdy, become last-minute truth tellers about Trump on their way out, including Thomas J. Rooney, Charlie Dent, Ryan Costello and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

.. The conspiracy crowd denounced him when the Benghazi committee, which he led, failed to validate their dark theories about Clinton.

.. But he was, in his eight years, one of the great GOP flamethrowers. He referred to his lengthy Benghazi probe as a “trial” of Clinton, and after a promising initial hearing, it quickly devolved into a partisan fight that singled out bugbears of the right such as Clinton aides Sidney Blumenthal and Huma Abedin.

.. He spearheaded the effort to hold Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, and he claimed that the Obama administration’s refusal to cooperate with Congress was “proof” that President Barack Obama knew about the botched gun-running program “Fast and Furious.”

.. Gowdy, though undertaking three investigations into the Trump administration, has been rather more forgiving of this administration’s refusal to cooperate. Democrats on his committee say he hasn’t issued a single subpoena to the administration. When I asked Wednesday about Gowdy, Elijah E. Cummings (Md.), the top Democrat on the committee, was grudging: “We now live in a kind of alternate universe when individual Republicans get massive praise just for acknowledging the obvious and restating basic facts.”