Friday, October 15

Donald Trump Struggles to Assemble Impeachment Defense Before Deadline | The impeachment of Trump (2021)


With just hours before the deadline for Donald Trump to officially answer the impeachment charge against him, the former president was still struggling to assemble a legal defense, announcing that he had hired two new attorneys after a team of five people abruptly resign their duties.

Trump has until noon Tuesday to answer a charge of incitement to insurrection, for encouraging the assault on the United States Capitol on January 6 in which five people were killed. His trial in the Senate is scheduled to begin on February 9.

With a majority of Republicans voicing support for the former president, the trial is seen as having little chance of ending in a conviction, opening the way for the Senate to stop the 74-year-old Trump from returning to office.

But the trial is still seen as a potentially explosive halt in Washington, where the Biden administration is working mightily to get its agenda off the ground and some Republican leaders have been trying to walk away from Trump.

The revelation of Trump’s new legal partner, one, a Fox News commentator and former attorney for sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, the other a former county prosecutor who objected to charging Bill Cosby with sexual assault, fueled concerns about the return. provisional to normal since Joe Biden took office. about to be flipped.

The trial could be particularly dangerous, the jurists said, if Trump bases his case around his lie that the November elections were stolen and Senate Republicans effectively back that lie, in unprecedented numbers, by voting for acquittal. .

Various reports He suggested Trump got rid of his previous legal team because they were unwilling to recite the electoral fraud lie. Trump’s new attorneys, David Schoen and Bruce Castor, did not say what defense they had planned.

“Both Schoen and Castor agree that this impeachment is unconstitutional,” a statement said, adding that Schoen considered it “an honor” to represent Trump.

Castor said: “The strength of our constitution is about to be tested like never before in our history.”

Schoen has an enthusiastic presence in the media whose previous clients include Roger Stone, convicted of lying to Congress in the Russia investigation but pardoned by Trump. The lawyer also told the Discovery Channel Epstein had asked him to take up the defense of his case before the convicted sex trafficker committed suicide in prison in August 2019.

“I don’t think he took his own life,” Schoen said, showing ease with the conspiratorial thinking that has fueled Trump’s electoral lies and taken over the Republican base.

In a separate interview with the Atlanta Jewish Times, Schoen said, “I keep thinking [Epstein] was murdered.”

Castor was the Republican district attorney for Montgomery County, a suburb of Philadelphia. But he lost a re-election effort in 2015 when his decision not to impeach Cosby, who was later convicted of aggravated indecent assault, became a campaign issue.

Neither Schoen nor Castor have a background in constitutional law, which mainstream scholars see as the most promising avenue for Trump’s defense. A minority have argued that the constitution does not allow the trial of a political figure who has left office. Most constitutional scholars strongly disagree, invoking non-presidential precedent.

“The impeachment of Trump by the House, as an indictment, occurred before he left office and therefore requires a trial.” tweeted Daniel Goldman, who led the cross-examination of witnesses before the House judicial committee during Trump’s first impeachment trial.

Trump has disagreed with the prevailing reading of the constitution.

“Efforts by Democrats to impeach a president who has already left office are totally unconstitutional and very bad for our country,” said aide Jason Miller.

Other analysts have noted that the nature and strength of Trump’s defense doesn’t matter if Republicans are planning, as they appear to be, to acquit him anyway.

“The ‘crisis’ over the resignation of Trump’s legal team assumes that the substance of the impeachment case will influence Senate Republicans,” said Princeton University historian Julian Zelizer. tweeted. “Most already have their answer. Trump could not offer any defense or can go to the living room to read the lines from the movie Joker; they would still vote to acquit. “

Trump is the only president who has been indicted twice. He was first indicted in December 2019, on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, with respect to approaches to Ukraine for filth on rivals, including Biden. The Senate acquitted him with a single Republican, Mitt Romney, voting to convict him.

Trump was able to assemble a relatively strong legal team, which included White House attorney Pat Cipollone, former Bill Clinton attorney Ken Starr, constitutional scholar Alan Dershowitz, and deputy attorney Patrick Philbin. Trump also won supportive testimony from conservative constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley. But when Trump sought his involvement this time, the Washington Post reported, Professor Turley refused.

Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman told CNN on Sunday that any argument Trump makes about alleged electoral fraud “will not benefit him” because “Joe Biden was duly elected” and that is “the opinion of Trump’s Justice Department.” too.

Any attorney who repeats Trump’s fraud claim before Congress would risk legal sanction, analysts said, noting that amid Trump’s attempts to have the ballots rejected, not even former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani would make certain claims about voter fraud before a judge.

Giuliani is eager to defend Trump in his impeachment, The New York Times reported – but Trump’s key advisers are against it.




www.theguardian.com

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