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Trump’s Senate impeachment trial could take three days as he struggles to find lawyers

Donald Trump‘s impeachment trial could last a mere three days once the Senate begins the proceedings as the former president struggles to find lawyers to represent him.

Trump spent his first afternoon out of office at his Mar-a-Lago residence on the phone with allies. He had two queries: asking if GOP senators will vote to bar him from ever running for office again, two people with knowledge of the calls told The Daily Beast.  He also asked what lawyers should represent him in trial.

The former president is having trouble finding a legal team to represent him. Members of his first impeachment legal team, including Jay Sekulow and former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, aren’t interested. 

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally, is one of the people who spoke to the former president on Wednesday and confirmed the former president’s troubles. 

‘[Trump] said, ‘I really don’t know the lay of the land here,’ and he’s looking for some lawyers,’ Graham told Punchbowl News. ‘I’m trying to help him there, and he’s just trying to put together a team.’ 

Former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate could last a mere three days once it gets started - the start date remains unclear

Former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate could last a mere three days once it gets started - the start date remains unclear

Former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate could last a mere three days once it gets started – the start date remains unclear

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (left) said he spoke to Trump and the former president was struggling to find a legal team to defend him

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (left) said he spoke to Trump and the former president was struggling to find a legal team to defend him

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (left) said he spoke to Trump and the former president was struggling to find a legal team to defend him

Other lawyers who have defended Trump in the past – including former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi, Eric Herschmann, Pat Philbin and Marc Kasowitz – aren’t interested, Bloomberg Law reported.  

It’s also unclear what role Rudy Giuliani, the president’s private attorney, would play. 

Giuliani told ABC News he would defend the president but other reports indicated Trump wasn’t sure he wanted the former New York City mayor on his team. 

Trump will face trial on the charges of ‘incitement of insurrection’ for his role in the January 6th riot on Capitol Hill, where his MAGA supporters stormed the Capitol building, interrupting the certification of the election.

Lawmakers have privately discussed a three-day impeachment trial, Politico’s Playbook reported, which would be a record for any such matter.

Some consider the case open-and-shut given Trump’s actions on the day of riot. In comparison, the president’s first impeachment trial was a web to untangle regarding his call to the Ukrainian president and the legalities there. 

At a rally the morning of riot, Trump told his supporters to march on the Capitol – a speech that resulted in many Republicans blaming him for the subsequent mob.

But a speedy trial also has its benefits. 

Republicans don’t believe there are 16 votes to convict the president – the number of senators needed to join Democrats. And many are ready to move on from their former president.

Members of Trump's first impeachment legal team, including attorney Jay Sekulow, center, stands with his son, Jordan Sekulow, left, and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone have indicated they are not interested in representing Trump again

Members of Trump's first impeachment legal team, including attorney Jay Sekulow, center, stands with his son, Jordan Sekulow, left, and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone have indicated they are not interested in representing Trump again

Members of Trump’s first impeachment legal team, including attorney Jay Sekulow, center, stands with his son, Jordan Sekulow, left, and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone have indicated they are not interested in representing Trump again

It's unclear what role Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani would play

It's unclear what role Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani would play

It’s unclear what role Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani would play

White House press secretary Jen Psaki down played concerns Trump's trail would overshadow President Biden's first weeks in office

White House press secretary Jen Psaki down played concerns Trump's trail would overshadow President Biden's first weeks in office

White House press secretary Jen Psaki down played concerns Trump’s trail would overshadow President Biden’s first weeks in office

Notably, unlike Trump’s last impeachment trial, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is telling senators to vote their conscience – a dramatic difference from last year when McConnell actively worked to acquit Trump when he was impeached the first time.

An alternative would be for senators to vote to disqualify Trump from holding future office. The Senate could apply that punishment by a simple majority vote, but only if two-thirds of senators first found Trump guilty. It’s an option that could appeal to many Republican senators since it would prevent Trump from running for president again in 2024.

A short trial would also allow the Senate, now controlled by Democrats, to focus on President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda and confirming his Cabinet nominees. 

Biden’s ambitious legislative plans include a $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan and reforming immigration. 

The White House is downplaying any questions about concerns Trump’s trial could overshadow their first weeks in office.  

‘We are confident that … the Senate … can do their constitutional duty while continuing to conduct the business of the American people,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her first briefing. 

‘He’s going to leave the mechanics, the timing and the specifics of how Congress moves forward on impeachment to them,’ she noted.

But there has been no decision on when to start the trial. Speaker Nancy Pelosi still has to send the article of impeachment to the Senate – a technical matter but the upper chamber cannot begin the process without it. 

Senator Dick Dubin, a member of the Democratic leadership, told reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday morning it’s unclear when they’ll receive the article and what form the trial will take.

‘It’s still unresolved as to when she’s sending it over. It could be today, unlikely. Could be tomorrow. And then what we’re going to do with it, is whether or not it’s going to be a full blown trial with evidence and witnesses. Or quote expedited whatever that means that final decision isn’t even closed,’ he said.  

There’s also the issue of whether Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will preside over the trial.

The Constitution states that ‘When the President of the United States is tried the Chief Justice shall preside.’

But Trump is a former president, which could give Roberts a way out of presiding.   

That would put Vice President Kamala Harris as next in line to preside over the trial, in her constitutional role as the Senate’s presiding officer.    

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer seems unlikely to ask Harris to do it. 

It is up to the Senate to set the rules of the trial and if the two party leaders, Schumer and McConnell, want to see Roberts preside, it is difficult to see how he would not, short of formally turning down their request.

Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who serves as president pro temp, is another potential candidate. 

Schumer and McConnell are in talks about a possible power-sharing deal governing daily Senate operations, similar to one struck two decades ago.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE OF IMPEACHMENT

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Source: Daily Mail Australia | World News

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