With almost a week left before his second impeachment trial, former President Trump’s five impeachment defense lawyers have reportedly departed over disagreements on Trump’s legal strategy. CNN first reported the news on Saturday night.
According to CNN, Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, who were set to lead Trump’s impeachment defense team, made the mutual decision to withdraw. Bowers had assembled Trump’s legal team as its expected lead attorney.
CNN also reported that North Carolina attorney Josh Howard as well as South Carolina attorneys Johnny Gasser and Greg Harris are no longer part of Trump’s impeachment defense team.
The departure of attorneys who were expected to defend Trump during his second impeachment trial comes after the former president has struggled to form his defense team amid staying hellbent on his baseless claims of election fraud.
Trump is now left empty-handed as legal briefs for his second impeachment trial are due next week and the trial itself is set to kick off days later.
According to CNN, a person familiar with the departures said that Trump pushed the attorneys to argue his bogus claims of election fraud rather than the legality of convicting a former president. Trump reportedly was not receptive to his attorneys’ on how to proceed.
CNN noted that the attorneys had not received any advance fees nor did they sign a letter of intent.
Former Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller slammed Democrats over their vote to impeach the former president for “incitement of insurrection” (the House voted to impeach Trump while he was still in office) in a defensive statement to CNN.
Miller reiterated Republicans’ disputed legal argument that an impeachment trial for Trump is unconstitutional now that he’s left office — a stance that was formalized when only five Republican senators voted against Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) motion to force a vote on the constitutionality of Trump’s second impeachment trial. Paul’s motion failed to pass in a 55-45 vote.
Miller said that a “final decision” on Trump’s defense team will be made “shortly.”
“The Democrats’ efforts to impeach a president who has already left office is totally unconstitutional and so bad for our country. In fact, 45 Senators have already voted that it is unconstitutional,” Miller told CNN. “We have done much work, but have not made a final decision on our legal team, which will be made shortly.”