Trump hires defense lawyer for second Senate impeachment trial

Former President Donald Trump has started putting together the defense team for his historic second Senate impeachment trial, starting with hiring South Carolina-based lawyer Butch Bowers.

Trump adviser Jason Miller, announced the hiring on Twitter, and said Bowers “is well respected by both Republicans and Democrats and will do an excellent job defending President Trump.” Miller would not say whether others had signed on or whether Bowers would be the sole lawyer tasked with representing Trump.

Republican Senators were briefed on Bowers’ involvement on a GOP conference call this afternoon, two people familiar with the discussions said. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., mentioned that he had recommended Bowers to Trump, the sources said.

Later asked about Trump’s legal team, Graham told reporters: “Well, I think he’s going to have a good one. Butch Bowers, I think, will be the sort of anchor tenant. But I’ve known Butch for a long time, solid guy. And I think over time, they’ll put the team together.”

Gov. Nikki Haley’s attorney Butch Bowers addresses the S.C. House Ethics committee at the Solomon Blatt Building in Columbia, South Carolina, on June 28, 2012.C. Aluka Berry / The State/Tribune News Service via Getty Images file

Graham, who has been advising the former president, shared that he spoke to Trump about the pending trial earlier on Thursday. “I think the President looks forward to getting this behind him … He’s going to have his day in court and that’s the way the system works.”

Graham added that Bowers “was involved in very complex litigation, he’s represented the state of South Carolina and federal court over lots of issues.” Bowers, for example, served as counsel to former Gov. Mark Sanford when he faced impeachment in the South Carolina House in 2009. He also served in the Justice Department under former President George W. Bush.

Republican Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., echoed Graham’s confidence in Bowers. “He’s a competent attorney who has served well in South Carolina and understands election laws about as good as anyone that I know so it’ll be interesting to watch it all unfold,” he said.

At this point, most lawyers involved in the president’s first impeachment defense team have said they are not participating in the second trial. The list of those who have declined so far includes Rudy Giuliani, Jay Sekulow, Alan Dershowitz, and former White House counsel Pat Cipollone.

Bowers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Frank Thorp V contributed.

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