Former South Carolina Republican Representative Trey Gowdy left the door open on Sunday to the possibility that he may join President Donald Trump’s outside legal defense team.
The intended move was announced earlier this month and then fell apart the next day after questions arose about whether Gowdy joining Trump’s outside legal defense team would violate lobbying rules.
“You told me earlier that you had agreed to work for the White House earlier this month as outside counsel for the president on the impeachment proceeding, but you didn’t,” Margaret Brennan said. “And that’s because, as you describe it, a restriction on former members of Congress in terms of communicating with an intent to influence for about a year after leaving office.”
“When that year ends, will you be joining the White House fight?” Brennan asked.
“I have no idea. I don’t represent the president as of today,” Gowdy responded. “I don’t know what, if anything, will exist in January. It may be over. My sense is the president needs folks that can represent him now before the House, the Senate, and indirectly through television shows and print media.”
“For one year, I can’t talk to the House or Senate, and my reading of that statute, and it’s a restrictive reading I’ll grant you, but my reading is I can’t even communicate indirectly on behalf of a person with the intent to persuade,” Gowdy continued. “So I could not come on your show and give advice to House Republicans or House Democrats on how they ought to run their investigation if I were working for the president. So, I don’t even know if I’m going to be alive in January. If Dallas doesn’t start playing better, I won’t be alive in January. So, I don’t know who I’ll be representing.”
“To me, impeachment is the political death penalty,” Gowdy continued. “There’s a reason our country has never removed anyone from office. So, I look at it as a lawyer. What process is someone entitled to if you are seeking to remove him or her from office and assign to them a stigma that will echo through the halls of history?”
Gowdy, who is well known for eviscerating opponents in public hearings, slammed public hearings during the interview, calling them a “circus” and a “freak show.”
Brennan asked Gowdy if the Democrats should be allowed to keep conducting their impeachment inquiry in private, something that has drawn intense scrutiny.
“Well, you can’t pick and choose which aspects of due process you’re going to use. It’s not just the privacy, I mean, the reason we respect executive branch investigations isn’t because they’re behind closed doors, it’s because there are no leaks,” Gowdy responded. “I mean, John Durham – you have no idea what John Durham has been doing. You have no idea what Michael Horowitz is going to say in his FISA report. There were no leaks with Bob Mueller.”
“You contrast that with the fact that Adam Schiff has had more press conferences this weekend than those three men have had in their lives. He uses an opening statement to give a parody,” Gowdy continued. “He lies about a whistleblower. So yes, I prefer executive branch investigations because they’re fact-centric, because you wait until the end to draw conclusions, and because there are no leaks. So, I do understand the Republican frustration with the current investigation.”
“My bias has always been towards investigations that wait until the end before they share their conclusions. It’s just not fair to do it on an hour-by-hour basis,” Gowdy concluded. “One other point Margaret: there’s a reason in courtrooms, the judge tells the jury, you can’t even begin to make up your mind until the last witness has testified, and the last piece of evidence has been introduced. I mean, if it’s good enough for the justice system, why should it not also be good enough for the political system?”
Former Rep. @TGowdySC — who agreed to work for the president as counsel on the impeachment proceeding but was restricted by congressional rules — tells Margaret Brennan he has “no idea” if he’ll join Trump’s legal team next year. pic.twitter.com/OHOdQ69RdL
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) October 27, 2019