Former US President Donald Trump's five impeachment defense attorneys have stepped aside a little more than a week before the Senate trial. According to people familiar with the incident, a disagreement over Trump's legal strategy caused the departure of the attorneys.
The 45th President has been struggling to find lawyers for his second impeachment trial. Now he has to deal with the unexpected situation as his lead attorney, Butch Bowers, whose hiring was announced last week, left the legal team, said a source on Saturday, January, 30.
Deborah Barbier, another lead attorney along with Bowers, is no longer with the team. According to reports, it was a mutual decision for the lawyers to leave the legal team.
Trump's Defense Strategy
As reported by CNN, Trump had pushed his legal team to focus on his unproven claims that the 2020 US election was stolen from him and there was election fraud. A person familiar with the situation also added that there were differences in opinion about how the team is going to defend the former President in the Senate trial. The team had not received any advance fees and a letter of intent was not signed.
The New York Times reported that Trump said that the case is "simple". He also reportedly told his advisers that he could argue it himself and save the money on lawyers. "Aides contend he is not seriously contemplating doing so," the report added.
Jason Miller, the former Trump campaign adviser, told CNN: "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. We have done much work, but have not made a final decision on our legal team, which will be made shortly."
However, as per NYT, Trump and Bowers—a respected lawyer from Columbia, South Carolina who assembled the legal team—had no chemistry, a quality the former president generally appreciates in his relationships. Trump also prefers those who can appear on news channels and spread the words of the former President, for example, Rudy Giuliani.
But Bowers has not appeared on news media since his hiring was announced. The South Carolina attorney had worked in the Justice Department under former President George W. Bush. The other attorney, who left Trump's legal team, Barbier is a South Carolina litigator. She worked on many high-profile cases. She also worked as a federal prosecutor for 15 years in the state before opening up her own criminal defense firm.
The departure of attorneys also includes Johnny Gasser and Greg Harris, from South Carolina and Josh Howard, a North Carolina attorney who was recently added to the legal team.
Gasser worked as the interim US attorney for the state of South Carolina, while Harris was a federal prosecutor. Both of the lawyers worked closely with Barbier on the defense side, reported CNN.
During Bill Clinton's Presidency, Howard worked as an associate independent counsel on the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky investigations. He was also in the Justice Department and worked on the confirmation of Supreme Court chief justice Samuel Alito and Justice John Roberts.