WASHINGTON -- Earlier this year, Trey Gowdy left Congress and returned home to South Carolina, making one thing perfectly clear: after eight years in office, he was done with politics.
The former Republican U.S. congressman was so over it, he turned down an opportunity to be nominated for a federal judgeship -- his longtime dream job -- because he was unable to stomach the prospect of having to endure Senate confirmation proceedings where Democrats would undeniably rip him apart.
"I did want it," Gowdy told The State in early 2018. "I don't anymore."
But now, after nearly eight months in the Greenville office of the law firm of Nelson Mullins, Gowdy has decided to get back into the game.
The job prospect? To be a member of Donald Trump's personal legal team as the president fights impeachment for asking the Ukrainian government to investigate 2020 presidential contender Joe Biden and his son.
In this context, it's a stunning development.
Despite presiding over the controversial U.S. House committee to investigate what role then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton might have played in allowing the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Gowdy always took pains to prevent the proceedings from being any more of a political circus than it already was.
As chairman of what was then called the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Gowdy was loathe to hold public hearings when he could convene private member briefings instead, arguing these venues were more productive than allowing lawmakers to grandstand in front of the cameras.
"Do you want the information or do you want the drama?" Gowdy said at the time. "I prefer the information."
Now, Gowdy is poised to become entangled in the ultimate chaos factory. Amid efforts among U.S. House Democrats to impeach the president, Trump is running his own public affairs shop via Twitter and his private attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is spreading similarly undisciplined talking points on cable news.