Former President Donald Trump on Sunday announced his legal team for next week’s Senate impeachment trial.
The announcement came a day after reports surfaced that five lawyers who had been working on Trump’s defense were no longer part of his legal team.
Reports suggested there was a difference of opinion over legal strategy, with some claiming Trump wanted to use his trial to argue that November’s presidential election was tainted by fraud while the attorneys who parted ways with Trump did not wish to do so.
Although NBC News said it was told Trump wanted to pursue his election fraud allegations in detail, Trump adviser Jason Miller called that report “fake news.”
The Democrat-controlled House passed an article of impeachment claiming Trump incited an insurrection with his words and actions on the day of the Capitol incursion and in the days leading up to the rioting.
Lawyers David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr. will lead Trump’s defense, according to a news release from the former president’s office.
“Schoen has already been working with the 45th President and other advisors to prepare for the upcoming trial, and both Schoen and Castor agree that this impeachment is unconstitutional – a fact 45 Senators voted in agreement with last week,” the release said, according to One America News’ Jenn Pellegrino.
“It is an honor to represent the 45th President, Donald J. Trump, and the United States Constitution,” Schoen said in the release.
“I consider it a privilege to represent the 45th President. The strength of our Constitution is about to be tested like never before in our history. It is strong and resilient. A document written for the ages, and it will triumph over partisanship yet again, and always,” Castor said.
— Jenn Pellegrino OAN 🇺🇸 (@JennPellegrino) January 31, 2021
“The Democrats’ efforts to impeach a president who has already left office is totally unconstitutional and so bad for our country. In fact, 45 Senators have already voted that it is unconstitutional,” Miller said in a statement, according to USA Today.
Miller’s reference was to a Senate measure last week in which 45 Republicans voted against holding the trial on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.
That vote has become widely interpreted as a signal that Democrats, who need 17 GOP senators on their side in order to convict the former president, will fall short in Trump’s second impeachment trial just as they did in his first one.
Castor was formerly the district attorney of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
Schoen has said he was retained by Trump ally Roger Stone to help handle Stone’s appeal on his conviction of lying to Congress. He has said the case against Stone, who was pardoned by Trump, was “very unfair and politicized.”
Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University professor, said his legal advice would be for Trump not to defend himself against the substance of the charges but to fight the trial on constitutional grounds.
Turley admitted, though, that such an approach would be difficult for the combative Trump, according to Bloomberg.
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