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Trump struggles to keep a legal team together for his impeachment trial

On Sunday night, Trump named two new lawyers who would represent him at his impeachment trial. Just a day before, he lost five members of his legal team.

By Emily Singer - February 01, 2021
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Donald Trump

With just a little over a week to go before his second impeachment trial begins, Donald Trump announced two new lawyers who will be representing him in the impeachment trial. The announcement followed a report just a day earlier that five members of Trump’s legal team were leaving.

One source told the New York Times that Trump needed to hire a new legal team because members of his former team refused to argue that the 2020 election was marred by fraud — the lie that helped lead to the riot at the U.S. Capitol that led to Trump’s latest impeachment. Others said the former team lacked the “chemistry” Trump prefers and that they refused to go on television for him.

The two lawyers now leading Trump’s impeachment defense are David Schoen and Bruce Castor.

Schoen, who had already been advising Trump on the impeachment trial, most recently represented Trump ally Roger Stone, who wound up being convicted on seven counts of witness tampering, lying to Congress, and obstructing the House probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the country’s interference in the 2016 election.

Trump commuted Stone’s sentence so he never served a day of his nearly three-and-a-half-year jail sentence and eventually pardoned Stone altogether before he left office.

Castor served as Montgomery County district attorney and is remembered for choosing not to prosecute Cosby for sexual assault. Cosby was later convicted for the charges Castor refused to bring and is currently serving a three- to 10-year jail sentence for the crime.

It looks as though Trump is unlikely to be convicted following his impeachment trial.

Last week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tried to end the trial before it even began by arguing that it is not constitutional to hold an impeachment trial for Trump since he is no longer in office. The effort failed, but 45 Republicans voted against trying Trump, an action that shows there are almost certainly not 17 Republicans needed to convict Trump.

Legal experts, including Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School, say the Republican argument that it is not constitutional to try Trump because he is no longer president is “demonstrably weak.”

Trump was impeached for inciting an insurrection before he left office. A trial in the Senate was delayed when then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold it before Trump’s term expired.

There is also precedent for trying an official for an impeachment charge after they are no longer in office.

Republican refusal to punish Trump may be a sign that the GOP has no intention of leaving Trump behind, even though he caused the party to lose the White House and control of the House and Senate in just four years.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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