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Friday October 18th, 2019 4:51AM

The Latest: Former SC Rep. Trey Gowdy joins Trump legal team

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump (all times local):

6:50 p.m.

Former Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy has been tapped to serve as outside counsel to President Donald Trump as the House impeachment inquiry expands.

That's according to an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal legal matters.

Gowdy is a former South Carolina congressman who did not seek reelection last year to the seat he had held for eight years.

Gowdy was the chairman of the House oversight committee. He led the congressional investigation of former presidential candidate Hilary Clinton and the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

— Jill Colvin

__

5:10 p.m.

The White House has notified the House that the Trump administration will not participate in what it is calling Democrats' "illegitimate" impeachment probe.

White House Counsel Pat Cipollone writes in a letter to House Democratic leaders that their inquiry has processed in a "manner that violates fundamental fairness and constitutionally mandated due process" and "lacks any legitimate constitutional foundation" or "pretense of fairness."

The letter comes the same day Trump intensified his fight with Congress by blocking Gordon Sondland, the U.S. European Union ambassador, from testifying behind closed doors about the president's dealings with Ukraine.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff called Sondland's no-show "additional strong evidence" of obstruction of Congress by Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that will only strengthen Democrats' case.

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2 a.m.

The White House has launched a high-stakes strategy to counter the impeachment threat to President Donald Trump: Stall. Obfuscate. Attack. Repeat.

One of the administration's first moves: The State Department on Tuesday barred Gordon Sondland, the U.S. European Union ambassador, from appearing before a House panel conducting the impeachment inquiry into Trump.

Sondland's attorney, Robert Luskin, says his client is "profoundly disappointed" that he won't be able to testify.

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