Atlanta-based attorney David Schoen told The Washington Post announced in an interview on Sunday evening that he “will not propose a theory of electoral fraud. That is not what this impeachment procedure is about. “
Schoen, who was named head of Trump’s defense team along with Bruce L. Castor, a former Pennsylvania prosecutor on Sunday evening, said he would focus on advancing the case that it was unconstitutional to indict a president after he went on resigned from office.
A majority of Republican senators have already adopted this position, which enables them to vote to dismiss the case without considering the merits of the charges against the president.
The House Democrats have challenged this argument, citing previous impeachment trials against former officials. Democratic impeachment managers are also expected to highlight Trump’s false fraud allegations when filing their first major short Tuesday before Trump’s January 6 trial for alleged incitement to attack the U.S. Capitol.
In another interview on Monday, Schön said he would pursue a two-part strategy, discussing the constitutional issue and citing the First Amendment as a defense against incitement. “If this speech is viewed as incitement to insurrection, I think any passionate political speaker is at risk,” he said, adding that Trump fully supports his approach. “I told him what I was going to do and he supports it 100 percent,” he said.
Even so, Trump continues to focus on fraud when he talks to employees from his private Mar-a-Lago club in Floridaaccording to information from people who are familiar with the conversations.
“Our main focus will be on the unconstitutionality of the impeachment process of the Democrats,” said Trump spokesman Jason Miller on Monday. “In total, you can expect four or five main topics.”
Schoen and Castor are replacing a South Carolina-led team led by Karl S. “Butch” Bowers Jr., who abruptly split from Trump after the former president tried, according to people familiar with the internal discussions, to try his impeachment fraud allegations to complain.
Bowers did not respond to requests for comment.
“The only thing Butch told me is that a defendant deserves a lawyer to prosecute his or her case the way he or she thinks it should be prosecuted,” said Tim Pearson, a South Carolina political agent. who shares an office with Bowers. Pearson said Bowers did not share details of the case with him because of attorney privilege.
Miller denied that a dispute over Trump’s election fraud claims led the Bowers team to resign, calling the term “false news”. Schoen told The Post that he had participated in calls between Trump and the Bowers team, and “it’s just not true that other lawyers got out of the case because the president pushed for election fraud.” While the former president mentioned fraud, he didn’t insist on being part of the defense, Schön said.
Initial indications of how both sides intend to approach the process are expected to be released on Tuesday, when both House Democrats and Trump’s team submit their first documents to the Senate.
A person familiar with the president’s legal mandate and speaking on condition of anonymity to describe the internal preparations for the process said contesting the 2020 election – or accepting unfounded allegations of fraud – would not be at the heart of the case raise, however, declined to say whether the subjects were even mentioned.
A person familiar with the House’s strategy and also speaking on condition of anonymity to describe internal preparations said the assignment would likely be broken into two parts. The first will look at the constitutional issue and argue that a former president can be charged after leaving office. The second part is expected to set out the case against Trump in inciting the events of January 6th. Part of that incitement, according to the House impeachment managers, was his repeated false claims that the election had been rigged.
In this case, they are expected to refer to comments made by Republicans such as Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming who said the mob attack on the Capitol was initiated by the president. “No question about it, the president formed the mob, the president instigated the mob, the president raised the mob. He lit the flame, ”she said in a statement that day.
Mitch McConnell, chairman of the Kentucky Senate Minority, also blamed Trump, telling the Senate that “the mob was fed lies” before the rioters stormed the Capitol.
The Trump team is expected to have limited response to the Senate trial subpoena. A more detailed filing outlining the Trump team’s case is due February 8.
Trump has also told advisors that he plans to stay a few more weeks, a close adviser said, and public appearances before the Senate trial are unlikely to affect many senators. Two senior Republican aides said their bosses – and McConnell – had not received calls from the former president, who was campaigning for votes against the conviction.
The trial is scheduled to begin on February 9th.