Two attorneys no longer expected on Trump’s impeachment defense team as trial nears

WASHINGTON – Two attorneys who were expected to help lead former President Donald Trump’s defense in his upcoming Senate impeachment trial are no longer part of the planned team.

Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, two South Carolina attorneys, are not part of the team of lawyers who will defend Trump, said Jason Miller, a political adviser to the former president. Miller said a final decision had not been made on the former president’s legal team.

“The Democrats’ efforts to impeach a president who has already left office is totally unconstitutional and so bad for our country,” Miller said. “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.”

The decision, first reported by CNN, comes just days before filings are due in Trump’s upcoming trial, including an official response due on Tuesday to the article of impeachment passed by the House charging Trump with inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Trump’s trial will start in earnest in a little more than one week.

Bowers and Barbier not being included leaves the team with three lawyers who have reportedly joined Trump’s defense: South Carolina defense attorneys Johnny Gasser and Greg Harris and North Carolina lawyer Josh Howard.

Inquires to the offices of Bowers and Barbier were not returned Saturday.

Harris confirmed to CNN this week that he and his legal partner, Gasser, had joined the team.

A spokesman for Howard confirmed to USA TODAY he was also on the team. He also acknowledged plans to defend Trump in a federal court filing on Wednesday, where he will ask a judge to delay some proceedings because he had “accepted a position on the defense team handling the pending impeachment trial,” Howard wrote in the filing.

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