On October 9, two reports from The Associated Press and The Daily Beast revealed, respectively, that “former Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy has been tapped to serve as outside counsel to President Donald Trump,” and Gowdy “has been terminated and is no longer a contributor” for Fox News. Gowdy became a Fox News contributor in January, the same month that he left the House of Representatives, and his paid commentary of late has frequently echoed Trump’s flailing defenses against the impeachment inquiry. Now, those appearances defending the president on his favorite network may have contributed to Gowdy’s hiring, becoming the latest example of the revolving door between Fox News and the Trump administration.
Since The Wall Street Journal reported on September 20 that the whistleblower complaint involved Trump pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, leading to the inquiry announced on September 24, Gowdy has gone on Fox to slam Democrats for “mishandling this investigation,” make dishonest comparisons between Trump personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and former President Barack Obama, lend credibility to a conspiracy theory pushed by the president, and single out some of Trump’s favorite targets for attack.
On The Story, Gowdy accused House intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) of “mishandling this investigation” and attempted to divide Democrats on the impeachment inquiry. Gowdy chastised House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for “already taking [the investigation] away from Jerry Nadler,” adding that “I’m sure the guys and gals on the Judiciary committee are not happy about having Adam Schiff do it.” Gowdy also compared having Schiff lead the impeachment inquiry to “how damning [it was] that Mark Fuhrman investigated O.J. Simpson’s murder,” before hastily adding that he is “not prejudging Mark Fuhrman,” then-Gowdy’s fellow Fox News contributor.
The segment ended with Gowdy attacking former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice, complaining about the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and declaring that “the biggest threat we have to our democracy is when people who don't like Trump and didn't vote for him want to undermine and reverse election results. That’s what’s going to do us in as a republic.”
On The Daily Briefing, Gowdy dismissed the question of whether Giuliani was acting alone or if the State Department asked him to seek dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden: “Does any of that matter? I mean, what is the theory under which it's an impeachable offense?” Gowdy suggested that Giuliani and Trump were legally in the clear because, in the partial summary of the July 25 phone call released by the White House, “the Ukrainian president’s the first one to mention Rudy Giuliani.” Gowdy also claimed that “lots of people were interested in the server because it may help prevent future attacks,” seeming to defend Trump’s comments on the call with a reference to a nonsensical conspiracy theory that one of Hillary Clinton’s email servers is physically located in Ukraine.
On Fox’s The Story, Gowdy compared Giuliani’s attempt to pressure foreign governments into attacking Trump’s political rival to Obama’s efforts to get help from allies in investigating Russian election interference in 2016. Gowdy argued that “our country not only took but we solicited help from other countries in trying to figure out whether or not the Russians were interfering with our election. To be sure, President Obama was not on the ballot, but he was criticized for not asking for more help from foreign countries to stop it. So whatever was good for President Obama, let’s at least apply the same standard to President Trump. Be fair about it.”
Sean Hannity invited Gowdy on his Fox show to discuss “prosecuting this case against Joe Biden.” Gowdy claimed that “if you’re going to investigate one fact pattern, you need to investigate a nearly identical fact pattern,” misleadingly pointing to Obama’s comments about having “more flexibility” to negotiate with then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev after the 2012 election. Gowdy also said Biden’s public comment about the firing of a former Ukrainian prosecutor was “a damning sentence,” even though the same prosecutor was already under intense international pressure to resign due to his own corruption.
Gowdy said it was Schiff’s fault that the White House withheld information from Congress, because Schiff is “deeply partisan” and “leaks like a sieve.” Gowdy argued that “when you put someone who is wrong as often as Adam Schiff is wrong, and is as deeply partisan as he is, in charge of the intelligence committee, then no, you’re not going to share confidential information because Adam leaks like a sieve. So that's the consequence of putting someone that partisan as the head of that intel committee.”