President Trump’s impeachment legal defense team just expanded to include some prominent and seasoned lawyers.
Former independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation, Ken Starr, whose review led to the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, is reportedly on board the Trump team as the Senate impeachment trial gets underway.
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has also been added to the body of experts heading into the proceedings which kicked off Thursday. He joins Starr and former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi, former federal prosecutor Robert Ray and Jane Raskin, the president’s longtime personal counsel who represented Trump during former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow will take the lead on the president’s defense team.
According to Politico:
As White House counsel, Cipollone added about 20 attorneys who have specifically been assigned to oversight issues that Democrats ultimately used to launch their impeachment proceedings.
His top associates, Michael Purpura and Patrick Philbin, will also be on the Senate impeachment team. Philbin is a former Cipollone colleague from Kirkland and Ellis who served in senior positions at the George W. Bush Justice Department, at one point even working as a top aide to then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey.
Starr, Ray and Dershowitz lend the team a serious dose of star power with their media experiences in addition to legal expertise. Though Dershowitz was a member of O.J. Simpson’s defense team and has recently come under scrutiny for his role in the defense of deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, the president has turned to the constitutional lawyer in the past during the Mueller probe and in the impeachment process.
“He is participating in this impeachment trial to defend the integrity of the Constitution and to prevent the creation of a dangerous constitutional precedent,” a spokesperson for Trump’s legal team said of Dershowitz, noting that he is “non partisan when it comes to the Constitution,” having opposed Clinton’s impeachment and voted for his wife, Hillary Clinton, as the Democratic nominee in the 2016 presidential election.
(3of 3) He is participating in this impeachment trial to defend the integrity of the Constitution and to prevent the creation of a dangerous constitutional precedent.
— Alan Dershowitz (@AlanDersh) January 17, 2020
Despite being a lifelong Democrat, Dershowtiz has been a vocal defender of Trump, recently slamming Democrats and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for withholding the articles of impeachment from the Senate.
Starr was a former federal appeals court judge and was the independent counsel overseeing the Whitewater investigation of Clinton from 1994 through 1998. What began as a probe into Clinton’s connection to the Whitewater land deal soon expanded, making former White House intern Monica Lewinsky a household name for her affair with Clinton.
At the news of Trump’s additions to his legal team, Lewisnsky tweeted, “this is definitely an ‘are you f—ing kidding me?’ kinda day.”
this is definitely an “are you fucking kidding me?” kinda day.
— Monica Lewinsky (@MonicaLewinsky) January 17, 2020
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