Trump's lead impeachment lawyers leave defense team just over a week before trial starts

Trump's lead impeachment lawyers leave defense team just over a week before trial starts
Outgoing US President Donald Trump addresses guests at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland on January 20, 2021.Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images
  • Up to five lawyers have departed former President Donald Trump's impeachment defense team.
  • Media outlets reported the attorneys disagreed with Trump over his defense strategy.
  • Ex-Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller tweeted that the legal team hadn't yet been finalized.

Five attorneys have abandoned former President Donald Trump's impeachment defense team just days ahead of his trial in the Senate, CNN reported Saturday night.

The departures reportedly occurred after disagreements over the defense strategy.

Trump had wanted his legal team to focus on false claims that the election had been stolen from him, rather than the question of whether it was legal to convict a president no longer in office, both CNN and the New York Times reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. The Times added that one person close to Trump disputed that characterization.
Advertisement
Former Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller responded to news of the departures on Saturday, tweeting that the legal team hadn't yet been finalized.

"We have done much work, but have not made a final decision on our legal team, which will be made shortly," he said.

CNN identified the departed lawyers as Butch Bowers, Deborah Barbier, Johnny Gasser, and Greg Harris of South Carolina, and Josh Howard of North Carolina. Bowers and Barbier parted ways from the defense team in a "mutual decision," according to the Associated Press, citing a person familiar with the situation.
Advertisement

The House of Representatives impeached Trump with a 232-197 vote on January 13, on a charge of inciting an insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6.

Trump has since struggled to attract defense lawyers, in part due to his baseless allegations of widespread election fraud and his actions during the Capitol siege. But Senate Democrats still face an uphill battle in their effort to convict Trump. Only five Republican senators joined them in a vote to proceed with the impeachment trial scheduled for February 9.
Advertisement
{{}}