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Trump says former Rep. Trey Gowdy can't join his legal team until January
CNBC
Thu, 10 Oct 2019 22:03

Trump says former Rep. Trey Gowdy can't join his legal team until January

CNBC
Thu, 10 Oct 2019 22:03

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) questions Deputy Assistant FBI Director Peter Strzok during ajoint hearing of his committee and the House Judiciary Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill July 12, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Trump says former Rep. Trey Gowdy can't join his legal team until January


Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images
Former Republican congressman Trey Gowdy has joined President Donald Trumps legal team amid a fast-moving impeachment inquiry in the House — but he wont be able to start until next year, Trump said Thursday.

The president, speaking to reporters outside the White House before traveling to Minneapolis for a campaign rally, said that federal lobbying rules prevent Gowdy from working as Trumps outside counsel until January.
"Trey Gowdy is a terrific guy. I think theres a problem with, he cant start for another couple of months because of lobbying rules and regulations. So youll have to ask about that," Trump said.

The South Carolina Republican joined white-collar law firm Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough after he left Congress in 2018. 

Gowdy had been a Fox News contributor since January — but he was fired from that role, a network spokesperson confirmed to CNBC on Wednesday, before Trumps lawyer Jay Sekulow announced the new addition to the legal team.

A source familiar with the situation told CNBC on Wednesday that Gowdy representing the president would pose a conflict of interest with his role as a Fox contributor.

"I have known Trey for years and worked with him when he served in Congress," Sekulow said in a statement Wednesday. "His legal skills and his advocacy will serve the president well. Treys command of the law is well known and his service on Capitol Hill will be a great asset as a member of our team."
But The New York Times Maggie Haberman said Trumps comments suggest Gowdy "is unlikely to ever join in the capacity he was hired for."

"Someone in West Wing badly wanted a win internally and put out Gowdy before it was a done deal. So it was quickly done yesterday and then had to be undone," Haberman tweeted.

Neither Gowdy nor Sekulow immediately responded to CNBCs requests for comment on Trumps most recent remarks.

Gowdy told The Greenville News at the start of 2019 that he had no plans to return to politics as an elected official or as a lobbyist.

The impeachment inquiry centers around Trumps July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which the U.S. president asked for Ukraine to "look into" unsubstantiated corruption allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden — Trumps possible 2020 rival — and his son Hunter. Trump also asked Zelensky to "do us a favor though" and investigate Ukraines connection to former special counsel Robert Muellers Russia probe.