If U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-Spartanburg, takes over the House’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, it might challenge his relationship with Democrats, President Donald Trump, and his sometimes nemesis from the Benghazi investigation, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.
Gowdy is the favorite to succeed outgoing Rep. Jason Chaffetz as head of the House Oversight Committee, Politico reports. That would mean working again alongside Cummings, the committee’s ranking Democrat, after the two congressmen ripped into each other on national TV during politically-charged hearings into the Benghazi attacks.
Aides to some Democratic committee members tell Politico they worry Gowdy could use his gavel to protect Trump or divert the committee’s focus away from the White House.
“The main knock on Gowdy is he seems to be an advocate for one side or another rather than an independent seeker of facts,” one anonymous source told Politico.
But others have noted Gowdy’s independence as a former prosecutor. When Gowdy was mentioned as a potential FBI director, S.C. Democrat Bakari Sellers said the Upstate Republican would be “as honest as the day is long” in the role.
“That Southern charm goes a long way with fellow politicians,” said Oversight Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md. “As long as Democrats get the sense that he's interested in true investigation and analysis rather than partisan collaboration with the administration, then we have a good pathway forward.”