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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump second-term plans remain a mystery to GOP Trump to hold outdoor rally in New Hampshire on Saturday Eighty-eight years of debt pieties MORE on Thursday said former Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyMore than two dozen former prosecutors, judges, active trial lawyers support DOJ decision to dismiss Michael Flynn case Sunday shows preview: As states loosen social distancing restrictions, lawmakers address dwindling state budgets John Ratcliffe is the right choice for director of national intelligence — and for America 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 SekulowAppeals court rejects Trump effort to throw out emoluments case Supreme Court divided over fight for Trump's financial records   Meadows joins White House in crisis mode 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 BidenTrump second-term plans remain a mystery to GOP Susan Rice: Trump picks Putin over troops 'even when it comes to the blood of American service members' Does Donald Trump even want a second term? 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 PerryRick PerryTexas cities say state is making pandemic worse Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Ernest Moniz Trump issues executive order to protect power grid from attack MORE, the Pentagon and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiOusted Manhattan US Attorney Berman to testify before House next week Sunday shows preview: With coronavirus cases surging, lawmakers and health officials weigh in Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill banning federal government use of facial recognition tech | House lawmakers roll out legislation to establish national cyber director | Top federal IT official to step down 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.