Trump makes 'mutual' decision to part with FIVE attorneys just 10 days before impeachment trial because he 'wanted them to argue election was stolen rather than focusing on the constitutionality of convicting him'

 Donald Trump has reportedly parted ways with his lead impeachment lawyers just over a week before his Senate trial is set to begin, after the president insisted they argue that the election was stolen from him.

Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, both South Carolina lawyers who were expected to be among the lead attorneys for the case, are no longer with Trump's defense team. 

Josh Howard, a North Carolina attorney who was recently added to the team, as well as Greg Harris and Johnny Gasser, two former federal prosecutors from South Carolina, have also left, according to CNN

The parting was reportedly a 'mutual decision' that reflected a difference of opinion on the direction of the case. 

Trump had wanted the attorneys to argue there was mass election fraud, and fell out with the lawyers who wanted to focus on the legality of convicting a president after he's left office, according to CNN sources.

New additions to the legal team are expected to be announced in a day or two.

Butch Bowers was expected to be among the lead attorneys for the impeachment case
Deborah Barbier had been hired to join Butch Bowers in crafting a defense for former President Donald Trump's unprecedented second impeachment trial

Butch Bowers (left) and Deborah Barbier (right) were expected to be among the lead attorneys for the impeachment case

Greg Harris
Josh Howard
Johnny Gasser

Attorneys Greg Harris (left), Josh Howard (center) and Johnny Gasser (right) have also reportedly left the scene

'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,' former Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller told CNN 

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 January 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.

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 February 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.

Trump had reportedly wanted the attorneys to argue there was mass election fraud

Trump had reportedly wanted the attorneys to argue there was mass election fraud

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.

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