Trump impeachment defense: Five lawyers leave the team less than two weeks before trial


This was a dramatic development in the second impeachment trial for Trump, who has struggled to prepare lawyers to take his case. And now, with the legal briefs due next week and the trial starting only one day later, Trump is in the grip of his electoral fraud and suddenly finds himself without legal representation.

Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, who were expected to be two of the main lawyers, are no longer on the team. A source familiar with the changes said that leaving the legal team was a mutual decision for both. As chief counsel, Bowers assembled the team.

According to another source familiar with the changes, Josh Howard, a lawyer from North Carolina, has also been recently added to the team. Johnny Gasser and Greg Harris of South Carolina are no longer involved in the case.

None of the other lawyers announced that they were working to protect Trump’s impeachment.

A person familiar with the departure told CNN that Trump wanted lawyers to argue that there was a massive electoral fraud and that the election was stolen from him, instead of paying attention to the legitimacy of convicting the president after he left his presidency. . Trump was not receptive to discussions about how he should proceed in that regard.

The lawyers were not yet paid any upfront fees and the letter of intent was never signed.

CNN has reached out to lawyers for comment.

“Democrats’ attempt to step down as president, who has already stepped down, is completely unconstitutional and so bad for our country. In fact, 45 senators have already voted that it is unconstitutional. We did a lot of work.” But has not made a final decision. On our legal team, that will be made soon, “former Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller told CNN.

Bowers, a respected lawyer from Columbia, South Carolina, once worked in the Justice Department under President George W. Bush.

Barbier, a South Carolina litigator, worked closely on several high-profile cases and was a former federal prosecutor in the state for 15 years before opening her boutique criminal defense firm.

Both Gasser and Harris are former federal prosecutors. Gasser served as the interim US Attorney for South Carolina earlier in his career. Both have teamed up with Barbier on the defense side.

Howard worked as an independent counsel in the investigation of Whittwater and Monica Lewinsky during Clinton’s presidency and spent a decade in the Justice Department, where he worked on the confirmation of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Jeeto. Howard once served as president of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, stepping down in early 2016.

This story has been updated to include reporting on additional departures from Trump’s team.

Cara Scannell and Manu Raju of CNN contributed to this report.

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