Donald Trump separates from his lawyers for impeachment a few days after the trial begins

FILE- Former US President Donald Trump greets from a car upon his arrival in West Palm Beach, Florida, after failing to attend the inauguration of his successor, Joe Biden, on January 20, 2021.

© Reuters / Marco Bello
FILE- Former US President Donald Trump greets from a car upon his arrival in West Palm Beach, Florida, after failing to attend the inauguration of his successor, Joe Biden, on January 20, 2021.

The former president of the United States, Donald Trump, departs from five lawyers who would defend him in the second political trial that he will face in the Senate, this time for alleged “incitement to insurrection”, after the assault on the Capitol on January 6. The event, described by two sources close to the situation as a “mutual decision,” occurs a few days after the impeachment begins on February 9.

Former US president Donald Trump is left without five defense attorneys, just days before he begins his second impeachment trial in the Senate.

Trump leaves his team in confusion amid a disagreement over his legal strategy against the charge of “incitement to insurrection”, passed in the House of Representatives, accused of inciting his followers to the unusual attack against the Legislative, heart of the American democracy, on January 6.

According to sources familiar with the case, cited by the AP, the two lawyers who led the group, Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, withdrew this weekend because Trump clings to a defense based on allegations of alleged electoral fraud in the presidential elections in November, and the jurists were not willing to back him. The lawyers preferred to focus their strategy on the legality of sentencing a president after leaving office, but the former head of state was not receptive about how they should proceed in that regard.

Similarly, three other lawyers withdrew from the defense: Johnny Gasser and Greg Harris of South Carolina; and Josh Howard, from North Carolina; who had recently joined the legal group, according to the same sources.

The US press highlights that, for now, no other lawyer has announced that they are working in Trump’s defense. The White House lawyers who defended him in his previous impeachment between late 2019 and early 2020 are also not expected to be part of the process: Jay Sekulow, Pat Cipollone, Patrick Philbin and Eric Herschmann.

Jason Miller, a Trump adviser, said the former president and his aides “had not made a final decision on the legal team.” And one of the sources who spoke on condition of anonymity assured that the new additions to the team will be announced this week.

The former president has struggled to find lawyers willing to defend him after becoming the first president in the country’s history to be tried twice.

Two impeachments, two acquittals?

The turmoil in the legal team injects more uncertainty into the defense structure and strategy. Yet all but five Senate Republicans voted this week to stop the trial even before it begins.

Although that attempt was unsuccessful, given that the process will advance from February 9, they made it clear that it is unlikely that the former president will be convicted, regardless of the lawyers who represent him.

“The efforts of Democrats to impeach a president who has already left office are totally unconstitutional and very bad for our country (…) In fact, 45 senators have already voted that it is unconstitutional,” Miller emphasized.

Currently, in the US Senate there is a tie in the number of legislators that comprise it. There you need a two-thirds majority among the 100 senators, meaning that at least 17 Republicans would have to join the indictments for there to be a final verdict against them.

Despite the fact that Trump has already left the Presidency, the motivation for this new impeachment is to prevent the president from being eligible for new public offices. The former governor has already expressed his intention to return to the race for the White House, in the 2024 elections.

With Reuters, AP and local media

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