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Trump appears to be without a legal team as impeachment trial nears

Those close to the former president are unable to identify anyone who will represent him during the Senate proceedings.
President Donald Trump holds an umbrella as he speaks to the media in Washington on Sept. 17, 2020.
President Donald Trump holds an umbrella as he speaks to the media in Washington last year.Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images file

Former President Donald Trump's legal team is unclear and undefined just over a week before his second impeachment trial begins in the Senate, adviser Jason Miller said.

As of last week, South Carolina lawyers Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier had been expected to join the team, but a source familiar with the matter said there had been a "mutual decision" to part ways.

"We have done much work, but have not made a final decision on our legal team, which will be made shortly," Miller said in a statement Saturday, adding that "Democrats' efforts to impeach a president who has already left office is totally unconstitutional and so bad for our country."

Joshua Howard, a lawyer who NBC News reported was planning to help with Trump's defense, is also no longer a part of the legal team, a source familiar with the matter said.

Howard's departure was first reported by CNN.

At least three lawyers who had been expected to represent Trump who have now parted ways with him. It is unclear whether two other lawyers who might have been joining the effort, Johnny Gasser and Greg Harris, are still weighing the decision or have also decided not to work with Trump.

No one involved in Trump's first impeachment trial has signed on for round two. Those close to Trump are unable to identify anyone on his legal team publicly just over a week until the trial begins Feb. 9.

Miller said any announcement about defense attorneys is likely to come from Trump himself in the next few days.

Trump does not plan to appear in person to defend himself against the charge that he incited the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., said Sunday on CNN's "Inside Politics" that the latest legal developments "could have very serious impacts" on the trial, adding that if Trump wants to continue "to perpetuate the lie that led to that insurrection, it says a lot to me, but I will reserve my final judgment until after the trial."