Donald Trump’s Second Impeachment Trial: Legal Team Shake-up

The Story:

On the final weekend of January, former President Trump’s office announced a shake-up of the legal team contesting the impeachment article in the Senate trial on his behalf. Two South Carolina lawyers, Butch Bowers and Deborah Barberi, had parted ways with the President. David Schoen and Bruce Castor had replaced them. Reports generally indicate that the switch arose out of a dispute over the arguments that the defense ought to make.

Background:

It appears that the former President wants to litigate the fairness of the 2020 election. He wants lawyers who will maintain that he won, that his victory was stolen, and that his actions seeking to avoid that theft (including the speech he gave to a crowd on January 6, a speech at the heart of the House prosecutors’ case) was reasonable under the circumstances.

Bowers and Barberi were not willing to make that argument. They wanted the defense to focus on the constitutional issue of whether it is proper to try a President whose term has already ended.

The Thing to Know:

The shake-up may have failed to achieve its purpose. Schoen and Castor, of Alabama and Pennsylvania respectively, seem as of this writing to be mounting the same case, on the constitutional issues not the factual claims, that got their precursors fired.

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