Former President Donald Trump has abruptly parted ways with five lawyers handling his impeachment defence, just over a week before the Senate trial is set to begin, people familiar with the situation said on Saturday. Those departures include his lead lawyer, Butch Bowers, a person familiar with the situation said. Four other lawyers who were reported to be joining, including Deborah Barbier, a criminal defence lawyer in South Carolina, are also leaving, according to multiple people familiar with the situation.
Trump had pushed for his defence team to focus on his baseless claim that the election was stolen from him, one person familiar with the situation said. A person close to Trump disputed that that was the case but acknowledged that there were differences in opinion about the defence strategy. However, Trump has insisted that the case is “simple” and has told advisers he could argue it himself. (Aides contend he is not seriously contemplating doing so.)
The decision for Bowers to leave was “mutual,” another person said, adding that Trump and Bowers had no chemistry. Bowers has been noticeably absent in the news media since his hiring was announced. Jason Miller, a Trump adviser, said th at the former president and his aides had “not made a final decision on our legal team”.
Bowers is the only lawyer whom Trump’s aides had confirmed would defend the former president. Senator Lindsey Graham was said to have helped line up Bowers, who was working to establish a broader team. The departures of Bowers and Barbier were previously reported by CNN. A third lawyer, Josh Howard is also no longer part of the team, another person familiar with the situation said. And two other lawyers from South Carolina, Johnny Gasser and Greg Harris, will also no longer be involved, one of the people familiar with the situation said. Trump is due to file a response to the House charges by Tuesday.

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