In the past week we’ve watched Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy transform from a shameless co-conspirator in the Devin Nunes plot, to distancing himself from the memo and announcing he’s quitting Congress at the end of his term. Now he’s hitting the talk show circuit to sing the praises of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, while kicking dirt on the graft of his own hyperpartisan political career. In the process Gowdy has revealed that he knows something we don’t, and that he’s now placing his bets against Donald Trump surviving the Russia scandal.
What changed? We have no way of knowing for sure. Our best guess is that Nunes tried to drag Gowdy deeper into the memo mess than he wanted to go, and he feared getting caught up in obstruction of justice, and he decided his only way out of the mess was to get out of politics entirely. Gowdy is loudly hinting that he wants to return to his prosecutorial roots – but here’s the thing.
It’s not difficult to see what Gowdy is doing. He spent the weekend admitting that he’d been a “lousy politician” in an attempt at distancing himself from his years of dishonest antics toward the likes of Hillary Clinton. He’s going to try to spin it all as him simply having gotten caught up in the worst of partisan politics, in the hope of painting himself as unbiased enough to be qualified for a position in the judicial branch. But that would require someone appointing him.
If Trey Gowdy is indeed aiming at a federal judge position in South Carolina, as many have speculated, he would need Donald Trump to appoint him. Instead Gowdy is very publicly going against Trump on the memo and the Mueller investigation. Gowdy seems to think his best bet is to wait for Trump to go down, and then hope the next guy appoints him. What does Gowdy know about Trump’s demise that we don’t?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report