Rep. Trey Gowdy rose to congressional stardom when he put Hillary Clinton in the hot seat for 11 hours during the House Benghazi investigation.
Now it's time to ask: What happens when you put the GOP's "Hillary slayer" in charge of an investigation into President Donald Trump's ties to the Russia scandal? Will he go just as hard at the leader of his own party?
The South Carolina Republican was named the new chair of the House Oversight Committee Thursday — the same day Capitol Hill was buzzing over former FBI Director James Comey's testimony in the Senate. Gowdy will replace outgoing chair Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who plans to leave Congress in June for personal reasons.
"I look forward to working alongside the other Committee members, as well as any member of Congress, as we discharge the jurisdiction assigned to us," Gowdy said in a statement.
Gowdy will now run one of the major congressional investigations into Trump and Russia, focused in particular on whether Trump's interactions with former FBI Director Comey constituted an act of obstruction of justice. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said he looks "forward to working with him in a constructive and bipartisan manner on an agenda that serves the interests of the American people," in a statement.
Gowdy has called the allegations against Trump "serious," but has added that he hopes Republicans learn to multitask — meaning he doesn't think Russia should be the primary focus of this Congress. He has downplayed developments in the investigation and is allied with Republican leaders who have made it clear that they do not want these probes to be a distraction.
In his opinion, "the criminal inquiry takes precedence" over the congressional probes, referring to the one now put in place by the Department of Justice's special counsel.
But the mounting stories over the White House's alleged ties to Russian officials — Trump's own admission to NBC's Lester Holt that he fired Comey because of a "made-up" investigation into Russia, the reported memos Comey had detailing conversations with Trump, and the deluge of leaks from the FBI about financial links to Trumpland — has put the pressure on the majority party to at least acknowledge that the news cycle doesn't look good.
The question is whether Gowdy will also feel the pressure — or simply do as little damage to Trump as he can.