Trump’s Impeachment Defense Lawyers Leave 9 Days Before Senate Trial

( With roughly a week before the beginning of his second impeachment trial, members of former President Donald Trump’s legal team have left.

Two of Trump’s lead lawyers have decided to leave the team, according to an NPR report. Both Deborah Barbier and Butch Bowers are no longer with the team. A source close to the situation said the lawyers, who are based out of South Carolina, leaving was a “mutual decision.” No further explanation was given about the situation.

Two other former federal prosecutors, Johnny Gasser and Greg Harris, have also left the team. They are both from South Carolina, too. CNN has reported that the final original member of Trump’s legal team, Josh Howard from North Carolina, has left as well.

On Saturday night, Jason Miller, an adviser for the former president, said:

“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.”

“We have done much work, but have not made a final decision on our legal team, which will be made shortly.”

That statement was made only about a week after Miller tweeted that Bowers had joined Trump’s legal team. He was recommended by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who said Bowers “will do an excellent job defending President Trump.”

CNN cited a source close to the situation who said the Trump wanted his legal team to argue there was “mass election fraud and that the election was stolen from him, rather than focus on the legality of convicting a president after he’s left office. Trump was not receptive to the discussions about how they should proceed in that regard.”

Whether that’s true or not is anybody’s guess really — especially since the reporting is coming from CNN.

No matter who represents Trump, it’s unlikely that Democrats will be successful in convicting the former president. As Miller said, 45 Republican Senators have already voted that conducting an impeachment trial for a president who is no longer in office isn’t constitutional.

Democrats need to gain a two-thirds majority vote in order to convict Trump. That would mean they’d need to secure all 50 Democrats’ votes, plus the votes of 17 Republicans. Even if they were to secure the votes of the five Republicans who didn’t vote the trial was unconstitutional, they’d still fall 12 votes shy of conviction.

This fact makes Trump’s legal team a little less crucial than it may have during his first impeachment trial — though that one was dead in the water before it began, too.

Trump has until this Tuesday, February 2, to respond to the House of Representatives’ article of impeachment that charges him with “incitement of insurrection.” Impeachment managers from the House have that same deadline to file their pretrial brief.

Trump’s pretrial brief must be submitted a day before the trial, which right now is set to start on Monday, February 9.