5 members of legal team depart ahead of Senate impeachment trial. Could Trump defend himself?

[sharenow]

With the Senate Democrats’ impeachment trial set to start in just over a week, where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Co. plan to remove private citizen Donald Trump from an office he no longer holds, there are reports that the former president’s entire legal team has departed the case.

According to sources familiar with the situation, the departure of two lead attorneys, Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, was a “mutual” decision — Bowers’ participation was just announced on January 21.



Jason Miller, a spokesperson for Trump, downplayed the reports, responding to an ABC News reporter tweeting that the legal team “is still in limbo with just a little over a week until trial start” to say that a “final decision” was still being made on legal representation.

“[Democrat] efforts to impeach a [president] who has already left office is unconstitutional [and] so bad for our country,” Miller tweeted. “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.”

In total, according to the reports, five attorneys left over a disagreement in Trump’s legal strategy.

CNN White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins tweeted that Trump “wanted the attorneys to argue there was mass election fraud and it was stolen from him rather than focus on proposed arguments about constitutionality.”

In addition to Howard, who was recently added to the team, CNN cited the standard anonymous sources to report attorneys Johnny Gasser and Greg Harris are no longer involved with the case, either.

Not to be outdone, the New York Times is reporting that Trump bandied about the possibility of representing himself at the potentially unconstitutional Senate trial — imagine the spectacle of Donald Trump in the Senate well, facing down Schumer.

“Mr. Trump has insisted that the case is ‘simple’ and has told advisers he could argue it himself and save the money on lawyers,” the Times reported, adding that his aides did not believe the ex-president was “seriously contemplating” representing himself.

NY Times columnist Maggie Haberman tweeted that former aide Steve Bannon was telling Trump to at least partially represent himself.

“Bannon, who was talking to Trump ahead of his departure from DC and the day Trump went back and forth on pardoning him, is encouraging him to go to the Senate himself. ‘He’s the only one who can sell it,'” she tweeted.

While Haberman added that it’s “unclear” who is now on Trump’s legal team, with 45 Republican senators effectively saying the trial is a violation of the U.S. Constitution — this being enough of the jury pool to prevent conviction — why pay expensive lawyers.

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Tom Tillison

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