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REWRITE: ALL Trump's Lawyers Have Quit. UPDATE: Trump as His Own Lawyer?

5 min read

BIG Hat tip to kittylou: This story just got more interesting:

First on CNN: Five of Trump's impeachment defense attorneys leave team less than two weeks before trial

Five of former President Donald Trump's impeachment defense team attorneys have stepped aside a little more than a week before his Senate trial is set to begin, according to people familiar with the case, amid a disagreement over his legal strategy.

It was a dramatic development in the second impeachment trial for Trump, who has struggled to find lawyers willing to take his case. And now, with legal briefs due next week and a trial set to begin only days later, Trump is clinging to his election fraud charade and suddenly finds himself without legal representation.
I don’t know why they say “five of” when he only has — or had — five to start with. But it seems he really wanted them to argue election fraud and they really didn’t want to do that. So maybe it wasn’t the connection to Haley after all.
—————— Update 8:04 PM PST ————————–—
The New York Times has picked up the story, though for the moment they are only confirming that Bowers is leaving. (On the other hand, buried in the middle of the story is that Barbier is also leaving, and that the others’ status is unknown. This is really a story in flux.) But here is the really ridiculous part (OK, most ridiculous part; the whole thing is insane already):
A third person familiar with the situation said that Mr. Trump had pushed for the lawyers to focus on his baseless claim that the election was stolen from him. A person close to Mr. Trump disputed that that was the case but acknowledged that there were differences in opinion about the strategy. However, Mr. Trump has insisted that the case is “simple” and has told advisers he could argue it himself and save the money on lawyers. (Aides insist he is not seriously contemplating doing so.)
Oh please, please, please!
———————————–Original Story———————-

The story is breaking right now that the top two lawyers on Trump’s impeachment defense team have quit:

CBS: Trump attorneys leave legal team 9 days before impeachment trial

Politico: Trump’s top impeachment lawyer has left his team

CNN: Two of Trump's impeachment defense attorneys leave team less than two weeks before trial

With a little more than a week before his impeachment trial is set to begin, President Trump's legal team is in tumult.

Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, who were expected to be two of the lead attorneys, are no longer on the team. A source familiar with the changes said it was a mutual decision for both to leave the legal team.

It’s pure speculation at this point, since the story just broke and nobody’s talking. But I have to speculate that a story posted yesterday (Friday) may point to a (or the) reason:

Three new lawyers added to Trump's impeachment defense

Former President Donald Trump has added three additional criminal defense lawyers to his impeachment defense team, bringing the current number of attorneys representing him next month to five.

Johnny Gasser and Greg Harris, two prominent South Carolina defense lawyers, have agreed to defend Trump along with Joshua Howard, a North Carolina defense lawyer.

This is then followed by what wouldn’t normally be odd:

Harris referred questions to Butch Bowers, the South Carolina lawyer who is spearheading the defense.
“He's putting it together. He's making assignments,” Harris said. “We've got a lot of work to do.”

Except that less than 24 hours later, Bowers quit, along with Barbier.

AP (via SFGATE) has this tidbit:

Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, both South Carolina lawyers, have left the defense team in what one person described as a “mutual decision” that reflected a difference of opinion on the direction of the case. [bold added]

Harris made clear yesterday that Bowers was in charge. Today, Bowers is out.

Bowers has prior impeachment experience with then-SC governor Mark Sanford (though ultimately he was never impeached), which gives him, as far as I can tell, more experience in that area than anyone else who has been willing to work for Trump (a VERY small pool). But then there is this, from two days ago:

Mar-a-Lago Malaise: Donald Trump’s Inner Circle Unimpressed By Butch Bowers

Heads turned last week when it was revealed that former U.S. president Donald Trump had tapped Columbia, S.C. “ethics” attorney Butch Bowers to lead his second impeachment defense. The general consensus was that Bowers was not up to the task – that the enormity of the task/ gravity of the situation required a more experienced, capable legal hand.

Not mentioned is that no one with more experience wanted to go anywhere near Trump. And from what I can tell, Harris and Gasser have less experience with impeachment (which is to say, none) that Bowers. Anyway…

Multiple sources familiar with the early stages of the Trump impeachment defense tell us the former president’s team is already substantially less-than-enthralled with Bowers – and that fingers of blame are already being pointed at U.S. senator Lindsey Graham, the one who pushed his selection on Trump.

And then there is this:

According to our sources, though, the biggest problem facing Bowers is his ongoing proximity to a politician who is universally loathed by Trump’s closest confidantes: Nikki Haley. . . .

While Trump was certainly aware that Bowers represented Haley during her 2012 ethics trial in South Carolina, we are told he was deliberately kept in the dark about the extent to which Bowers and Haley remain aligned.

So my guess is Trump, notoriously suspicious along with his many other horrible qualities, got nervous when he learned about the Haley connection — she is, after all, already being mentioned as a 2024 GOP Presidential candidate. Trump wants that field all to himself; he may be thinking Haley’s friend Bowers just might be cagey enough to be working to get him convicted and ineligible to run.

Not that I think Bowers would do that. But what I think and what Trump thinks are worlds, nay, universes, apart.

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