From The New York Times:
For 24 hours last week, Trey Gowdy, the former South Carolina congressman best known for leading congressional investigations of Hillary Clinton, was the new face of President Trump’s outside legal defense and a symbol of a streamlined effort to respond to a fast-moving impeachment inquiry.
A day later, the arrangement fell apart, with lobbying rules prohibiting Mr. Gowdy from starting until January, possibly after the inquiry is over. Now, according to two people familiar with events, Mr. Gowdy is never expected to join the team. And Trump advisers are back to square one, searching for a different lawyer.
The official story, circulated by senior administration aides to a handful of reporters, was that Mr. Gowdy, who retired from Congress last year, had agreed to re-enter the fray on Tuesday. Mr. Gowdy’s name began circulating on Twitter as the new Trump defender, prompting a number of aides to the president to claim credit privately for the idea of bringing him on board.
But by Wednesday evening, aides were distancing themselves from the bungled personnel maneuver, which was made public before all the usual procedural boxes had been checked. Several pointed fingers at Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, suggesting he had botched the rollout.
As Mr. Mulvaney pushed for Mr. Gowdy, a former House colleague and fellow South Carolinian, he swatted away questions from several aides about whether Mr. Gowdy would be curtailed in his role by lobbying regulations. Both men assured people that there would be no problem, according to the people briefed on what took place.
On Wednesday, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyers worked on a letter for Mr. Gowdy to sign to cement their agreement. Around 8 p.m. they released a statement announcing that Mr. Gowdy was formally on board.
But within 30 minutes of that statement’s going public, Mr. Gowdy alerted Mr. Trump’s lawyers to a problem. His law firm, Nelson Mullins, had concerns that his work would involve lobbying activity. There was a discussion about whether Nelson Mullins could still be used, but a Trump adviser said that decision had been put off until January, when Mr. Gowdy’s lobbying ban concludes.
In the meantime, Mr. Trump’s team is searching, again, for help.
Without Mr. Gowdy, who lost his paid contributorship at Fox News after the announcement, and with another of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Rudolph W. Giuliani, sidelined from appearing on television for the moment as he is drawn increasingly into the Ukraine matter at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, the president’s team remains outgunned in the fight for public opinion.
Even Mr. Trump — who for the most part has been operating as a one-man war room, setting the tone of grievance from the top — appears confused about which of his staff members is in charge.
The president, at one point, asked Mr. Mulvaney who was leading the effort.