31.Jan .2021 22:00

Trump Loses Lead Impeachment Lawyers Shortly Before Senate Trial

Trump Loses Lead Impeachment Lawyers Shortly Before Senate Trial
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At least four of the lawyers who were slated to defend Donald Trump at his Senate impeachment trial have parted ways with the former president, according to multiple reports, just eight days before he will be tried for allegedly inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Both CNN and The Associated Press, citing anonymous sources, reported that the lawyers who were supposed to lead Trump’s defense at the Feb. 8 trial have left the team—some over his reported insistence that they argue there was mass voter fraud in the 2020 election. 
CNN reported that all five of Trump’s impeachment attorneys have departed: South Carolina lawyers Butch Bowers, Deborah Barbier, Johnny Gasser and Greg Harris, as well as North Carolina attorney Josh Howard. 
The Associated Press put this number at four, leaving Howard’s name off the list. 
Both reported that the departure of Bowers and Barbier were mutual decisions, as they did not agree with Trump’s desire to focus on his unfounded accusations of election fraud in their arguments. 
Bowers, Barbier, Gasser, Harris, Howard and representatives for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes, though former Trump campaign manager Jason Miller told CNN “we have not made a final decision on our legal team.” 
“The Democrats’ efforts to impeach a president who has already left office is totally unconstitutional and so bad for our country,” said Miller. “We have done much work, but have not made a final decision on our legal team, which will be made shortly.” 
Bowers is a familiar figure in Republican legal circles, having defended all three of South Carolina’s most recent governors when they faced ethics probes. Barbier, Gasser and Harris are all former federal prosecutors. 
Meanwhile, Howard served as an associate independent counsel in the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky investigations during Bill Clinton’s presidency, and also worked on the confirmations of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. 
Trump has struggled to pull together a legal team since becoming the first U.S. president to be impeached twice during his tenure. Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who has led his election fraud cases, told ABC News that he can’t participate in the case as he’s a “witness,” having spoken at the protest that directly preceded the attack on the Capitol complex. Lawyers Jay Sekulow and Pat Cipollone also reportedly declined to participate in the trial after representing Trump in his first trial last year. 
The former president has just over a week to pull together a new legal defense team.