Trump campaign says the President has not yet chosen impeachment defense team

Trump campaign says the President has not yet chosen impeachment defense team

President Donald Trump has not yet assembled a defense team for his upcoming Senate impeachment trial, a spokesperson for the President’s campaign said Sunday.

“President Trump has not yet made a determination as to which lawyer or law firm will represent him for the disgraceful attack on our Constitution and democracy, known as the ‘impeachment hoax.’ We will keep you informed,” Hogan Gidley, the campaign’s national press secretary, wrote in a tweet early Sunday.

The announcement comes as the President stares down his second Senate impeachment trial, with this one set to take place after he leaves office later this week. The chamber will consider an article of impeachment passed by the House last week that charged Trump with inciting a deadly riot at the US Capitol earlier this month.

Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader who will soon become majority leader, said last week that the trial can “begin immediately” if an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can be reached — but the Kentucky Republican has made clear that the trial won’t start until after January 19.

Though the President hasn’t formally announced a legal team to defend him in the trial, his longtime personal attorney Rudy Giuliani was seen at the White House on Saturday, and the former New York mayor told ABC that day that he is involved with and working on the President’s impeachment defense ahead of the trial.

But Trump has told people he wants to stop paying Giuliani’s legal fees in recent days out of frustration that he faces a second impeachment, though aides were unsure how serious the President was about his instruction.

CNN has reported that Trump blames Giuliani for his current predicament; Giuliani has played a leading role in promoting the kinds of election conspiracy theories that drove Trump supporters to storm the US Capitol on January 6. Giuliani is still expected to play some role in Trump’s defense.

Meanwhile, John Eastman, the conservative attorney who falsely told Trump that Vice President Mike Pence could block the certification of Biden’s win, could join Trump’s legal team defending him in the upcoming impeachment trial, a person familiar with the matter said. But those discussions are still preliminary and Eastman isn’t yet formally a part of the team.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and her deputy, Brian Morgenstern, both had their last day on Friday, leaving the White House press shop largely vacant for the remainder of Trump’s term.