WASHINGTON – About a week before his Senate trial, former President Donald Trump has no announced legal team and at least five attorneys who were expected to help lead the team are no longer part of it.
The remarkable last-minute shifts add fresh uncertainty over Trump's legal strategy and highlight the struggle the former president has had in corralling a legal team after he became the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.
Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, two South Carolina attorneys, are not part of the team of lawyers who will defend Trump, said Jason Miller, a political adviser to the former president. Miller said a final decision had not been made on the former president's legal team.
The decision, first reported by CNN, comes just days before filings are due in Trump's upcoming trial, including an official response due on Tuesday to the article of impeachment passed by the House charging Trump with inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Other articles have indicated the reason why the attorneys quit. While the attorneys were prepared to argue on Trump's behalf that you can't impeach a President who has left office, Trump insisted the attorneys argue that there was massive election fraud that led to the election being stolen. Trump's attorneys refused to make that argument because there wasn't evidence to support it.
One thing I've learned from decades of practicing law is that attorneys do not have a problem telling lies in court filings and in front of judges. It is only when asked to tell a Big Lie in a legal proceeding that they will balk.
That the election was stolen from Trump is a Big Lie. That is why in the 60+ legal proceedings, no Trump or Trump-friendly attorney has introduced evidence of election fraud that could overturn the election. It is only when you go outside of legal proceedings where witnesses are sworn and face the real possibility of perjury, that attorneys are willing to offer "experts" who will claim fraud of the level that could have overturned the election.
UPDATE: After I wrote this Sunday morning, Trump hired (not sure that's the right terms since Trump generally stiffs lawyers) to represent him on the impeachment case.
OOP's short takes:
- The South Carolina Republican Party has voted to censure one of its congressional representatives, Tom Rice, for voting for impeachment. Meantime, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Qanon), who says school shootings were faked, embraces the killing of Democratic members of Congress, and says Jews started California wildfires with space lasers, is warmly embraced by ex-President Donald Trump and given cushy committee assignment by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
- Speaking of McCarthy, is there anything more pathetic and weak looking that McCarthy traveling to Mar-a-Lago to kiss the butt of President Trump? Some say "ring," but I imagine that the former President likely insisted that McCarthy affix his lips to his derriere for the ultimate humiliation.
- Russian officials are clamping down on pro-democracy protests in Russia. Meanwhile, in the United States, we have protests by people who want to overturn a democratic election and install an autocrat as President. Go figure.
- The Senate Ethics Committee will be investigating the conduct of Sen. Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Missouri). Cruz and Hawley are leaders of the Sedition Caucus which attempted to use powers not given to Congress in the Constitution, namely to disregard the states certification of the votes of electors who did not support their favored candidate, i.e. Donald Trump.
- While Cruz and Hawley were not alone in their efforts, given their Ivy League legal education and clerkship with Supreme Court Justices, they both knew better and yet did what they did out of a craven attempt to appeal to Trump voters who bought the "stolen election" load of crap. Cruz and Hawley deserve to be censured at the least, though expulsion would be better. People who prefer autocracy over democracy and defy their oaths to support the Constitution, have no business in Congress.