Trump Changes Legal Team, Both Sides Declare Arguments Ahead of Impeachment Trial

By Neil Campbell | February 3, 2021
Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
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Republican and Democrat senators have arrived at an agreement for the timeframe and rules to be observed during Trump’s impeachment hearing.

Donald Trump has shuffled his legal defense team ahead of his Feb. 8 impeachment trial in the Senate. According to a Fox News report on Sunday, Butch Bowers, Deborah Barbier, and former federal prosecutors Greg Harris, Johnny Gasser, and Josh Howard all departed Trump’s camp. 

The Associated Press reports that an unnamed source said Bowers and Barbier left the team because Trump wanted his team to bring up the issue of election fraud in the Nov. 3 Presidential Election during the trial. 

The team of five have been replaced by David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor, Jr.

In a letter released by the 45th President, Castor remarked: “I consider it a privilege to represent the 45th President. The strength of our Constitution is about to be tested like never before in our history. It is strong and resilient. A document written for the ages, and it will triumph over partisanship yet again, and always.”

Former Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor leaves Montgomery County Courtroom A after testifying in a pre-trial hearing for entertainer Bill Cosby and his sexual assault case on February 2, 2016, in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Castor was a witness for Cosby, claiming he gave Cosby immunity from prosecution so he, Cosby, would testify in a civil case against him. (Image: by Clem Murray — Pool / Getty Images)

According to Newsweek, David Schoen previously represented Al Gore in his famous 2000 court battles following a contentious election against George W. Bush and Roger Stone who was targeted in the Russiagate hoax and pardoned by President Trump on Dec. 23. 

Schoen’s most notorious client is convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who allegedly committed suicide while in prison in 2019. Cohen has gone on record saying he doesn’t buy that story. “The reason I say I don’t believe it was suicide is for my interaction with him that day.”

“The purpose of asking me to come there that day and over the past previous couple of weeks was to ask me to take over his defense. We came to an agreement during the course of that discussion.” In a September interview with the Atlanta Jewish Times, Schoen directly stated: “I still think he [Epstein] was murdered.”

In late January, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tabled a Point of Order to declare the trial unconstitutional. The verbiage of Article II Section IV of the Constitution specifically applies Impeachment to a sitting President or Vice President.

Paul’s motion failed in the Democrat majority Senate 55-45, with five Republicans — Mitt Romney (UT), Ben Sasse (NE), Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Pat Toomey (PA) — voting against.

“If we are going to put every politician in jail, are we going to impeach every politician who has used the words ‘fight’ figuratively in a speech? Shame,” he said. “I want this body on record. Every last person here,” said Paul, according to The Epoch Times.

During the Impeachment Trial, scheduled to begin Monday, Feb. 8, the Senate, however, must vote to convict by a 2/3rds supermajority. For this to happen, 17 Republican Senators would have to cross party lines, and the voting record on Paul’s point of order casts doubt on the viability of this scenario.

In an official response to the Articles of Impeachment filed by the House of Representatives against Trump, Schoen and Castor argue that the charges run “void ab initio as a legal nullity that runs patently contrary to the plain language of the Constitution” because President Trump is no longer a sitting president. 

The team maintains that the specific verbiage in Article 1 Section 3 of the Constitution: “‘[j]udgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy an office of honor…’ (emphasis added),” specifically requires removal from office, so “the present proceedings are moot and thus a nullity since the 45th President cannot be removed from an office he no longer occupies.”

The Trump team also formally denies he ‘engaged in insurrection or rebellion’

They said that the President engaged in his First Amendment right to free speech during his address to a crowd during the beginning stages of the Jan. 6 Joint Session of Congress. 

The Democrats’ trial memorandum selectively quotes Trump’s speech, specifically the portion where he said “fight like hell [or] you’re not going to have a country anymore.” However, the President’s actual statement was about his legal team’s efforts to challenge the Nov. 3 General Election’s integrity. His full statement was: “We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

Dems also cites a statement saying: “You’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong,” as evidence of inciting insurrection. But the sentence before he made this statement shows he was referencing lawmakers: “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them,” Trump said at the Jan. 6 rally. 

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) warned Democrats against attempting to call witnesses during the trial: “If you open that can of worms, we’ll want the FBI to come in and tell us about how people pre-planned this attack and what happened with the security footprint at the Capitol. You open up Pandora’s Box if you call one witness,” he told Fox News

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