Trump Loses Lead Impeachment Lawyers A Week Before Trial

Deborah B. Barbier
Deborah Barbier

Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, both South Carolina lawyers, have left the defense team in what one person described as a “mutual decision.”

Former President Donald Trump has parted ways with his lead impeachment lawyers just over a week before his Senate trial is set to begin, two people familiar with the situation said Saturday.

Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, both South Carolina lawyers, are no longer with Trump’s defense team. One of the people described the parting as a “mutual decision” that reflected a difference of opinion on the direction of the case. Both insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations.

One said new additions to the legal team were expected to be announced in a day or two.

Butch Bowers speaks during a news conference at the Statehouse in Columbia, S.C.
Butch Bowers

The upheaval injects fresh uncertainty into the makeup and strategy of Trump’s defense team as he prepares to face charges that he incited the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. However, all but five Senate Republicans this week voted in favor of an effort to dismiss the trial before it even started, making clear a conviction of the former president is unlikely regardless of his defense team.

Greg Harris and Johnny Gasser, two former federal prosecutors from South Carolina, are also off the team, one of the people said.

Trump has struggled to find attorneys willing to defend him after becoming the first president in history to be impeached twice. He is set to stand trial the week of Feb. 8 on a charge that he incited his supporters to storm Congress before President Joe Biden’s inauguration in an attempt to halt the peaceful transition of power.

After numerous attorneys who defended him previously declined to take on the case, Trump was introduced to Bowers by one of his closest allies in the Senate, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Bowers, a familiar figure in Republican legal circles, had years of experience representing elected officials and political candidates, including then-South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford against a failed impeachment effort that morphed into an ethics probe.

Bowers and Barbier did not immediately return messages seeking comment Saturday evening.

Republicans and Trump aides have made clear that they intend to make a simple argument in the trial: Trump’s trial is unconstitutional because he is no longer office.

While Republicans in Washington had seemed eager to part ways with Trump after the deadly events of Jan. 6, they have since eased off of their criticism, weary of angering the former president’s loyal voter base.

CNN was first to report the departure of the lawyers.



Lifelong Republican Donor Quits GOP: ‘Absolutely’ Now The Party Of QAnon

University of Houston Law Center LL.M, alumnus Kenyon Moore ‘15

“If you stay in the Republican Party, you have to pay homage to Trump and I don’t do that. I don’t pray to any man,” said Houston immigration lawyer Jacob Monty.

Lifelong Republican donor and activist Jacob Monty revealed this week he’s quit the GOP and joined the Democratic Party, citing the deadly U.S. Capitol riot incited by former President Donald Trump as “a bridge too far for me.”

“I’m out,” the immigration lawyer from Houston told Erin Burnett on Friday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Outfront.” (Watch the video above).

Burnett asked Monty ― who voted for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election ― if the GOP was now more the party of the unhinged QAnon conspiracy theory than of conservatives like himself.

“Absolutely,” he replied. “Trump owns the party and Trump has always loved the conspiracy theories and this is Trump’s party now.”

“I tried for four years to be a Never Trumper in the Republican Party but it’s obvious now, everyone is paying homage to this ex-president,” he added. “No one will stand up to him.”

Monty before the 2016 election served briefly on Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council until the then-GOP candidate delivered a “combative, red meat nativist stemwinder” campaign speech against immigration. Monty later expressed hope for Trump following his victory over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

On Friday, the attorney who campaigns for immigration reform acknowledged he didn’t agree with everything that Democrats stand for.

“But that’s the big tent party, the Democratic Party is the party that has more diversity of opinion,” he said. “If you stay in the Republican Party, you have to pay homage to Trump and I don’t do that, I don’t pray to any man.”

Monty’s comments to Burnett echoed those he published in an op-ed this week for the Houston Chronicle, in which he revealed that “watching thousands of Trump supporters invade the Capitol literally brought tears to my eyes.”

“As the descendant of immigrants, I revere the United States Capitol and all it stands for. To see it desecrated — at the urging of a Republican President — broke my heart,” he wrote.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), with his promotion of Trump’s election fraud lies and efforts to overturn the result, “might as well have joined the insurrectionists in smashing the windows and rampaging through the Capitol,” wrote Monty.

“If my fellow Republicans are so blind they can defy reality and ignore the legal votes of millions of American citizens, there is no way I can convince them of the rightness of comprehensive immigration reform,” he added. “There is simply no room for me in the GOP any longer.”



Josh Hawley ‘Created This Situation,’ According To His Mentor

Former Sen. John Danforth, a Republican, has no time for Hawley’s excuses.

Josh Hawley’s former political patron has no patience for the Missouri Republican’s effort to escape accountability for his role in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6.

Hawley has gone on a media tour this week to claim he wasn’t trying to cancel Joe Biden’s voters when he objected to Congress certifying the election result, that he never intended for people to believe Donald Trump could remain president, and that a “liberal mob” is now trying to “muzzle” him just for doing his job.

But that’s all “baloney,” said John Danforth, who represented Missouri in the Senate from 1976 to 1995 and previously helped Hawley advance his career.

Hawley has repeatedly appeared on Fox News and Missouri radio. Danforth has shadowed him on MSNBC and Missouri radio as well.

“He was instrumental by his actions in creating perhaps the darkest day in American history. He brought it about,” the 84-year-old Republican said Thursday on Missouri radio station KMOX. “He said repeatedly that this election is in doubt and it’s going to be decided on this momentous day of Jan. 6, so he created this situation.”

Hawley was the first Senate Republican to say he would object to the certification, and in the days leading up to Jan. 6 said it was time to “stand up” and that the day’s events would determine the next president.

Two days before the riot, Hawley said Donald Trump’s fate “depends on what happens on Wednesday.”

As law enforcement continues to arrest suspects and investigate the ransacking of the Capitol, and the Senate weighs whether to convict Trump after the House impeached him for inciting the mob, Hawley is now the Republican most brazenly denying he had anything to do with it.

In his own interview on KMOX this week, Hawley said that it’s a “lie” from the “liberal mob” that he wanted to overturn the election. Host Mark Reardon, seemingly exasperated by Hawley’s refusal to acknowledge his role, at one point asked if Hawley at least agreed that the attack on the Capitol had not been a false flag attack by the supposedly fearsome anti-fascist group known as antifa, as some far-right lawmakers have claimed.

“And by the way, it wasn’t antifa, OK? Can we agree with that? It wasn’t antifa, was it?”

“I don’t know ― I don’t have any evidence that it was antifa,” Hawley said. “I think the criminal rioters ought to go to jail and be punished to the fullest extent of the law, just like the rioters in cities across this country all summer long.”

He then told Reardon, a conservative libertarian, “I would caution you, fight for the First Amendment here, don’t be part of the lie!”

“What am I lying about?” Reardon asked, seeming taken aback.

Another Missouri radio host this week, Pete Mundo of KCMO, practically begged Hawley to acknowledge that he’d hyped Jan. 6 as an opportunity to keep Trump in office.

“We had people every day calling up and saying, ‘Hey, Donald Trump’s still going to be president,’ and your name would obviously come up, doing this show in Kansas City,” Mundo said. “Do you look back on that time and regret misleading people in some way?”

“No. I didn’t mislead anybody. I was very careful ― very explicit about what I was doing,” Hawley said, going on to explain that all he wanted to do was get Congress to launch an investigation into election fraud before certifying the election result.

Here’s how that investigation would have played out: Once a special commission’s 10-day audit of the election had been completed, according to a summary of the proposed scheme from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), “individual states would evaluate the commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed.”

In other words, the plan explicitly contemplated changing the result of the election ― but Hawley won’t admit it, no matter how obvious it is, no matter what he said before.

Almost immediately after the riot, Danforth said he regretted mentoring Hawley, which he reiterated this week.

“That sounds like a throwaway thing ― ‘You know last night I had the best dinner of my life,’ that kind of thing,” Danforth told KMOX. “But just thinking about it, it was the biggest mistake because it was the most consequential.”



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