The team, led by South Carolina lawyer Butch Bowers, resigned in part because of disagreements over how to mount Trump’s defense, the sources said. The lawyers had planned to argue the constitutionality of holding a trial given Trump is now a former president.
A source close to the former president described the change as a “mutual decision” between the parties.
Trump was impeached by the House on Jan. 13 on a single article for “incitement of insurrection” following the violent siege that left one police officer and four others dead and left members of Congress and their staffs fearing for their lives. The insurrection, which took place Jan. 6, was preceded by a Trump rally when he told his followers to head to the Capitol and repeatedly said they should fight for him.
“The Democrats’ efforts to impeach a president who has already left office is totally unconstitutional and so bad for our country. In fact, 45 Senators have already voted that it is unconstitutional. We have done much work, but have not made a final decision on our legal team, which will be made shortly,” Jason Miller, a spokesperson for Trump, told ABC News Saturday.
The Senate trial is scheduled to begin on the week of Feb. 8. Two-thirds of the Senate — or 67 senators — would need to vote to convict Trump to be successful. That means 17 GOP senators would need to come to the Democrats’ side.