As chair of the House committee tasked with investigating the 2012 terrorist attack on an American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, Gowdy was vaulted into the national spotlight for his intense and critical questions about whether then- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could have prevented the attack or dealt with it more effectively.
Gowdy's exit adds to the record number of GOP members not seeking re-election to the House this November amid the very real possibility that Republicans could lose control of the House.
Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy (S.C.) said Wednesday that he is leaving politics and will return to work in the justice system.
Gowdy did not have to account for such factors when making his decision, which made his decision all the more surprising.
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"Whatever skills I may have are better utilized in a courtroom than in Congress, and I enjoy our justice system more than our political system", he said. He is the chairman of the influential House Oversight Committee, and has been involved in the Republican party's pushback on the FBI investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
In closed-door interviews, he has been the chief questioner for the Republicans on the committee, relying on his prosecutorial experience to cross examine numerous witnesses. The post is considered a powerful position that allows for investigations into any aspect of the federal government.
"He chose to throw his lot with protecting the Trump presidency and the White House at all costs", Connolly said of Gowdy. It's now occupied by a career prosecutor serving as acting US attorney for more than a year.