Oct 9, 2019

Trey Gowdy agrees to serve as outside counsel for Trump

Trey Gowdy conducts a House Oversight and Government Reform committee hearing in 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

President Trump has asked former South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy to assist him with legal advice from outside the White House and Gowdy has agreed, though details are yet to be finalized, according to people familiar with the situation.

Where it stands: As the president faces an impeachment inquiry, Gowdy can offer Trump another opinion on where legal theory meets political reality, a person familiar told Axios' Margaret Talev, adding that his Benghazi experience is seen as an asset. Gowdy is expected to advise the White House behind the scenes and appear on TV to advocate on behalf of the president.

The state of play: Now that Trump faces an official impeachment inquiry, the White House has formalized its strategy to ignore lawmakers' demands until Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds a full House vote formally approving an impeachment inquiry.

  • For nearly a month, the White House has refused to comply with House investigations into whether Trump jeopardized national security by allegedly pressing Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 presidential election.

Subpoenas: The White House, EU ambassador Gordon Sondland — named in the whistleblower report — the Defense Department, the White House Office of Management and Budget, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have all been subpoenaed since Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry on Sept. 24.

Go deeper ... Trump-Ukraine scandal: The key players, dates and documents

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Trump says Trey Gowdy can't join legal team until January

Trey Gowdy. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters on the White House lawn Thursday that former South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy can't join his legal team until January because of federal lobbying rules.

Why it matters: Trump's lawyer Jay Sekulow confirmed on Wednesday that Gowdy had agreed to operate as Trump's outside counsel as the president faces an impeachment inquiry led by House Democrats. However, the House committees conducting the investigation are already moving full steam ahead with subpoenas and witness depositions and are likely to vote on articles of impeachment before the end of the year.

Go deeper: Trey Gowdy agrees to serve as outside counsel for Trump

Keep ReadingArrowOct 10, 2019

Pence tells House committees he will not cooperate in impeachment inquiry

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The counsel for Vice President Mike Pence sent a letter to the chairmen of the House committees investigating President Trump and Ukraine on Tuesday informing them that he will not cooperate with a request for documents in their "self-proclaimed" impeachment inquiry.

Why it matters: This is in line with the White House's current stance of blanket noncooperation, which has prompted the House chairmen conducting the investigation to warn that defiance could be used as evidence of obstruction in a future article of impeachment. Some have speculated that Speaker Nancy Pelosi could call the White House's bluff and announce a full House vote authorizing the impeachment inquiry, daring the administration to continue to defy subpoenas and document requests.

House Democrats tap impeachment gusher

Fiona Hill leaves Capitol Hill last night after more than 9 hours of testimony. Photo: Leah Millis/Reuters

The White House is tense — and some aides are frantic — as Democrats on Capitol Hill tap a gusher of revelations that paint an increasingly vivid portrait of President Trump's unrestrained conduct of foreign policy.

Why it matters: Democrats are moving fast. Letters to potential witnesses reveal the breadth and speed at which the inquiry is unfolding, a stark contrast to the Mueller report which stretched over nearly two years.

Go deeperArrowOct 15, 2019