Trump says Gowdy can't join his legal team 'for a couple months'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi arrives in Jordan with bipartisan congressional delegation Trump says his Doral resort will no longer host G-7 after backlash CNN's Anderson Cooper mocks WH press secretary over Fox News interview MORE on Thursday said former Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyGowdy remembers political opponent, good friend Elijah Cummings Hill editor-in-chief: 'Hard to imagine' House leadership without Cummings Elijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 MORE (R-S.C.) can't to join his outside legal team for a "couple months" because of lobbying rules one day after it was announced that Gowdy would serve as his counsel.

"Trey Gowdy is a terrific guy," Trump told reporters outside the White House as he departed for a campaign rally.

"I think there's a problem with — he can't start for another couple months because of lobbying rules and regulations," he added. "So you'll have to ask about that. I just heard that Trey Gowdy can't start til some time after January because of the lobbying rules and regulations. So I don't know. We'll have to see."

Trump's lead personal attorney, Jay SekulowJay Alan SekulowThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump's impeachment jeopardy deepens Mulvaney admission deals blow to White House impeachment defense On The Money: Trump announces limited trade deal with China | Appeals court rules against Trump over financial records | Trump expands authority to sanction Turkey MORE, said Wednesday night that Gowdy would serve as counsel to the president in response to the House's impeachment inquiry.

Sekulow did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday seeking clarification on Gowdy's status. 

Gowdy is a career prosecutor who served four terms in Congress. He retired in January at the conclusion of his final term.

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Gowdy’s ability to defend the president against subpoena requests would be severely hampered if he’s unable to start in an official capacity until January, though he could make appearances defending Trump on television.

The House formally launched its impeachment inquiry into Trump late last month.

Top Democrats have indicated they hope to move swiftly by keeping a narrow focus on allegations that Trump abused his office by urging the leader of Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenCNN's Anderson Cooper mocks WH press secretary over Fox News interview Yang cautions Democrats: Impeachment might not be 'successful' Ocasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment MORE.

Democratic committee leaders have in recent days issued subpoenas demanding records from the White House, Vice President Pence, the Office of Management and Budget, Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryWhite House staggers after tumultuous 48 hours Perry won't comply with subpoena in impeachment inquiry Overnight Energy: Trump taps deputy energy secretary to replace Perry | Praises pick Dan Brouillette as 'total professional' | Perry denies quid pro quo over Ukraine MORE, the Pentagon and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGiuliani asked State Dept. to grant visa for ex-Ukraine official at center of Biden allegations: report Overnight Energy: Trump taps deputy energy secretary to replace Perry | Praises pick Dan Brouillette as 'total professional' | Perry denies quid pro quo over Ukraine Ex-Watergate prosecutor says evidence in impeachment inquiry 'clearly' points to Trump MORE as part of the investigation.

Gowdy previously served as the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and led the House Select Committee on Benghazi. In those roles, he insisted that the Obama administration comply with congressional oversight authority.