Former president Donald Trump has lost his top impeachment lawyer just days before his trial is to begin, a person familiar with his legal strategy confirmed on Saturday night.
Butch Bowers, a South Carolina lawyer who was reportedly set to play a major role in the Senate’s trial of the ex-president, is now no longer with the team. Deborah Barbier, another South Carolina lawyer, won’t be either. The person described it as a “mutual decision” and said new names will be announced shortly.
The decision by Bowers and Barbier to not join the team raised immediate questions, both about what compelled them to part ways and who actually will play the role of lawyer to Trump when the impeachment trial starts in early February.
Trump has had difficulty finding legal help for his second impeachment, with some of the lawyers who worked on his first trial saying they wouldn’t do the same this go around.
Bowers’ hiring was first announced by Trump ally and South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham. A longtime Republican attorney, Bowers represented former South Carolina Govs. Mark Sanford and Nikki Haley, and had experience in election law.
News outlets in South Carolina also named trial attorneys Greg Harris and Johnny Gasser as part of Trump’s impeachment team, although aides to Trump never officially confirmed who would be representing the former president.
In a statement, Trump spokesman Jason Miller did not address the uncertainty around the legal team but, rather, railed against impeachment itself, noting that the vast majority of Senate Republicans voted that convicting an ex-president is an unconstitutional act—a conclusion with which legal scholars disagree.
"The Democrats’ efforts to impeach a president who has already left office is totally unconstitutional and so bad for our country,” said Miller. “In fact, 45 Senators have already voted that is unconstitutional. We have done much work, but have not made a final decision on our legal team, which will be made shortly."
Trump had been impeached by the House for helping insight the insurrection on the Capitol on January 6. It would take two-thirds of the Senate to convict him, however, a threshold that seems unlikely to be hit.
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