Trump has reportedly hired a big time Republican lawyer to handle his Senate impeachment trial which may come as early as next week:
POLITICO – The former president has hired Butch Bowers, a longtime Republican attorney with experience in election law, to represent him when the Senate considers an article of impeachment, likely in a matter of days or weeks.
Trump’s new defense attorney received praise on Thursday from some of his former Republican clients. The South Carolina-based attorney previously represented former Govs. Nikki Haley and Mark Sanford, and serves as a judge advocate general officer for the South Carolina National Guard.
“Butch is a good friend and a fine lawyer. President Trump is fortunate to have him on his team,” Haley said through a spokesperson.
Sanford, who was represented by Bowers during his own battle with impeachment after he fled to Argentina with a mistress during his term as South Carolina governor, described Bowers as “ethical and competent.”
“Butch is a first-class human being. In the fifteen years … where I’ve worked with Butch in different capacities, it was just sort of run of the mill. He was perfunctory and professional,” Sanford said, adding that he does not believe Bowers will use his position on Trump’s defense team to amplify the ex-president’s baseless voter fraud allegations.
Trump’s decision to hire Bowers was announced by his ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) during a Senate GOP meeting on Thursday. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has asked for Trump to receive two weeks to prepare his legal case for trial. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said they had received a proposal from McConnell “that only deals with pre-trial motions” and that they would “review it and discuss it with him.”
Graham, who said he has known Bowers for “a long time,” said Trump is still putting together his legal team. “Butch Bowers I think will be the sort of the anchor tenant,” Graham said.
Considering Bowers expertise in election law, Politico reports that some believe Trump will use the impeachment trial to argue why he lost the election due to massive fraud. But they say no defense scheme has been settled on yet.
As you can see in the article, McConnell is pushing for the trial to begin no earlier than February, to give Trump time to mount a defense.
Politico cites ‘legal scholars’ who claim that an impeachment trial taking place after Trump has already left office would still be constitutional. But plenty of Republican Senators are of the opinion that putting a private citizen on trial is unconstitutional:
Senate Republicans are coalescing around a long-shot bid to dismiss the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump before it even begins, relying on a disputed legal argument that says putting an ex-president on trial is unconstitutional.
Interviews with more than a dozen GOP senators revealed broad support for the claim that the Senate has no constitutional authority to put a private citizen on trial, which could translate into a substantial number of votes to scrap the trial altogether. The issue came up several times during a Senate GOP conference call Thursday afternoon, according to multiple senators.
Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said in an interview that concerns about the constitutionality of putting a former officeholder on trial were top of mind among GOP senators — even those who are open to voting to convict Trump on the House’s charge that he incited the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 that left five people dead.
“Our members, irrespective of what they might think about the merits, just believe that this is an exercise that really isn’t grounded constitutionally and, from a practical standpoint, just makes no sense,” Thune said.
“I think the key point is, is it constitutional to do this when somebody is out of office — and then, is it purely retribution when you try to push it forward,” Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) said. “[That’s] not to dismiss any of the enormity of the day itself.”
“I think it is one of the most potent arguments [for Trump], absolutely,” added Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a top Trump ally who has been pushing for a vote on dismissing the trial at its outset.
Braun is right, this is purely retribution against Trump. There is no legal basis for this phony impeachment. Trump didn’t incite anyone to do anything violent. As was pointed out by a former DC prosecutor who has prosecuted people for incitement, Trump referred to the protesters there as going to the Capitol to “peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.” He literally said that.