But the so-called Nunes memo says the Steele dossier did not launch the investigation into the Trump campaign's ties with Russia. The memo confirms previous reports that overtures by Russian operatives to a junior campaign adviser are what sparked the FBI's counterintelligence investigation.
George Papadopoulos — who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about those contacts — "triggered" the opening of the investigation, the memo says.
Court documents have described offers that Papadopoulos received of "dirt" on Hillary Clinton and "off the record" meetings involving him and other campaign aides and Russian leaders.
Gowdy, who earlier in the week announced his retirement from Congress, did not agree with Trump that the memo absolved him of any wrongdoing. But Gowdy did say the release of the memo has no connection to many of the investigative threads in the Russia probe.
"So to the extent the memo deals with the dossier and the FISA process, the dossier has nothing to do with the meeting at Trump Tower. The dossier has nothing to with the email sent to Cambridge Analytica. The dossier really has nothing to do with George Papadopolous' meeting in Great Britain. It also has nothing to do with obstruction of justice," Gowdy said.
Gowdy also told CBS' Margaret Brennan that the FISA court would not have authorized the surveillance warrant without the dossier.
Other Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee echoed Gowdy in Sunday show appearances.
"This memo has frankly nothing at all to do with a special counsel," said Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, on "Fox News Sunday."
"I don't believe this is an attack on Bob Mueller. I don't believe this is an attack on the men and women in the FBI. I've served shoulder to shoulder with them, and they are hard-working folks that keep us safe," said Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas on ABC's "This Week."
Speaking Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," John Brennan, the former CIA director under former President Barack Obama, accused Nunes of playing politics with the release of the memo.
"Devin Nunes, over the past several months, all the way back to the spring of last year, I think, has engaged in these tactics, purely to defend, make excuses and try to protect Mr. Trump," Brennan said.
Brennan also downplayed the amount of influence the dossier had among those in intelligence circles.
"It did not play any role whatsoever in the intelligence community assessments that was done that was presented to then-President Obama and then-President-elect Trump," Brennan said.
Democrats have raised concerns that the president will use the release of the Nunes memo as grounds to terminate Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is supervising the Mueller investigation, or to order the firing Mueller.
Also appearing on "Meet the Press" was Trump's former chief of Staff Reince Priebus. He pushed back on an explosive report first made in "The New York Times" last month, that Trump ordered the firing of Mueller in June of 2017, but backed down after White House Counsel Don McGahn threatened to quit over the directive.
"I never felt, of all the things that we went through in the West Wing, I never felt that the president was going to fire the special counsel," said Priebus, who left the administration in July 2017.
On Saturday evening, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. released a six-page rebuttal memo to the Nunes document and circulated it to his colleagues and to the media, including NPR. Nadler, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, accuses the Nunes memo of being "deliberately misleading and deeply wrong on the law."