All five of former president Donald Trump’s impeachment lawyers have left his legal team less than two weeks before his second impeachment trial is set to begin, according to reports.
Trump’s South Carolina–based lead attorneys Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier are no longer on his defense team, according to an Associated Press report that called the departure a “mutual decision.” Two more attorneys — Greg Harris and Johnny Gasser, both former federal prosecutors from South Carolina — have also left the team, the report adds.
Meanwhile, North Carolina lawyer Josh Howard has parted ways with the group as well, according to CNN.
Bowers and Barbier reportedly left because Trump wanted them to defend him using unfounded allegations of widespread election fraud and the pair were unwilling to do so, a source told the AP.
Trump hired Bowers on the recommendation of Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) after a number of the former president’s previous attorneys declined to take on the case.
“We have done much work, but have not made a final decision on our legal team, which will be made shortly,” Trump adviser Jason Miller said in a tweet on Saturday night, nine days after he announced Bowers had joined the team.
Dem. efforts to impeach a pres. who has already left office is unconstitutional & so bad for our country. In fact, 45 Senators have already voted that it is unconstitutional. We have done much work, but have not made a final decision on our legal team, which will be made shortly. https://t.co/OQIugh0A8F
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) January 31, 2021
The defense team’s shakeup comes as Trump readies for his second impeachment trial, set to begin February 9, in which an acquittal is likely as a majority of Republican senators last week voted to dismiss the trial. Trump and a number of Republican lawmakers have argued that it is unconstitutional to hold an impeachment trial for a president who is no longer in office.
Earlier this month the House passed a single article of impeachment, charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection” after a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 while Congress met to certify President Joe Biden’s election victory.
Trump has until Tuesday to respond to the article of impeachment.