Lawyers jump ship shortly before Trump impeachment trial

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US President Donald Trump speaks at a news conference at the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 30 July 30 2020. EPA/YURI GRIPAS / POOL

dpa/GNA – Former US president Donald Trump’s defence team has abandoned him with a little more than a week to go until his impeachment trial begins, US broadcaster CNN reported on Sunday.

The five lawyers would not represent the Republican after all, citing differences over his legal strategy.

CNN cited sources as saying Trump wanted the attorneys to pursue unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud instead of questioning the legitimacy of impeachment proceedings against a president who has already left office.

According to CNN, the attorneys had thus far not received any advance payments, and no letter of intent was ever signed.

Trump is facing an unprecedented second impeachment trial over the deadly storming of the Capitol building on January 6.

Lawmakers have accused Trump of inciting an insurrection after a violent mob of his supporters attacked the Congress building following one of his rallies, leading to the death of five people.

The trial, which is similar to a court proceeding with the senators functioning as jurors, is set to begin during the week of February 8.

A two-thirds majority is needed to obtain a conviction in the Senate and subsequently bar Trump from running for office again.

However, a vote in the Senate earlier this month saw the overwhelming majority of Republicans vote to halt the trial, a key indication that Democrats will be unable to convince enough Republicans to convict the former president.

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