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Former Rep. Trey Gowdy joins Trump legal team

NBC News logo NBC News 10/10/2019 Dareh Gregorian and Hallie Jackson and Kristen Welker
Trey Gowdy looking at the camera: Image: Trey Gowdy © Carolyn Kaster Image: Trey Gowdy

Former GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy — once an advocate of Congress's oversight powers — has joined President Donald Trump's personal legal team in its fight against the House impeachment inquiry.

"I am pleased to announce that former Congressman Trey Gowdy is joining our team as Counsel to the President," Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said in a statement Wednesday night. "I have known Trey for years and worked with him when he served in Congress. His legal skills and his advocacy will serve the President well. Trey's command of the law is well known and his service on Capitol Hill will be a great asset as a member of our team."

Gowdy also has ties to Trump's Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney — both represented South Carolina in the House over the same time period.

After retiring from Congress at the beginning of the year, Gowdy became a contributor on Fox News, where he has blasted the impeachment inquiry.

"A lot of them have already made up their minds," he said in a Sept. 27th Fox appearance during which he defended the July Trump-Ukraine phone call that eventually led to the impeachment inquiry. "If there's a smoking gun there — I can't even find the gun, whether it's smoking or not."

In a sign that he'd be joining Team Trump, Fox News issued a statement earlier Wednesday saying he'd "been terminated and is no longer a contributor."

As a congressman, Gowdy was a fierce advocate of Congress's oversight powers of the Executive Branch, and chaired the House Select Committee on Benghazi from 2014 to 2016.

A clip of him discussing the importance of Congress's oversight powers in 2012 resurfaced on social media, where he said, "The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong. Respect for the rule of law must mean something, irrespective of the vicissitudes of political cycles."

The White House counsel issued a letter on Tuesday night saying the administration would not cooperate with impeachment inquiry because it didn't consider it "fair."

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