Former President Donald Trump is having a real rough start to the year. A little over a week after his supporters led a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 that he incited, Trump earned the ignoble distinction of being the only president in history to be impeached twice.
Now, just before the commencement of Trump’s impeachment trial, the lawyers who were slated to make up his defense team have all left.
Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, who were expected to be two of the lead attorneys, are no longer on the team. A source familiar with the changes said it was a mutual decision for both to leave the legal team. As the lead attorney, Bowers assembled the team.
Josh Howard, a North Carolina attorney who was recently added to the team, has also left, according to another source familiar with the changes. Johnny Gasser and Greg Harris, from South Carolina, are no longer involved with the case, either.
No other attorneys have announced they are working on Trump’s impeachment defense.
A person familiar with the departures told CNN that Trump wanted the attorneys to argue there was mass election fraud and that the election was stolen from him rather than focus on the legality of convicting a president after he’s left office. Trump was not receptive to the discussions about how they should proceed in that regard.
Trump has never been one to appreciate legal advice that diverges from his own fitful fantasies. But the lawyers who’ve banked their reputations on supporting whatever foolishness his brain cooks up have paid the price for that stunningly bad judgement. Michael Cohen, who was Trump’s legal fixer for years, ended up being disbarred and serving a federal prison sentence related to his work for Trump. Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, Trump’s most recent legal defenders who went all in on ludicrous false claims that everyone—including voting machines—stole the election from him, are now both facing billion dollar defamation lawsuits by Dominion Voting Systems.
Is it any wonder that any lawyer with a lick of sense would save themselves from the almost-certain ruin that would come from defending a man who is determined to dig himself deeper in a hole of unreality?
The only comment Team Trump has made about his impeachment lawyers’ defections came from spokesperson Jason Miller, who said on Saturday, “We have done much work, but have not made a final decision on our legal team.”
Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate is set to begin on Feb. 8. It’ll be interesting to see the lawyers he ends up with, and if they actually go forward with his deluded voter fraud argument. Meanwhile, AP reports that at least one of the Capitol insurrectionists–the “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansely—wants to testify at the trial that Trump incited his actions.
Get your popcorn ready, these proceedings will certainly be a show.