Former US President Donald Trump has abruptly parted ways with his lead impeachment lawyers little more than a week before his trial, it has been reported.
Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier have left the defence team in what one person described as a “mutual decision” following a difference of opinion on the direction of the case.
According to insiders, the pair left because the former president wanted them to use a defence that relied on allegations of election fraud, and they were not willing to do so.
Three other lawyers linked to the team, Josh Howard, Johnny Gasser and Greg Harris have also gone, according to sources.
Mr Trump has struggled to find attorneys willing to defend him after becoming the first president in history to be impeached twice.
It was unclear who would now represent him at the trial.
His White House lawyers at his first impeachment trial last year, Pat Cipollone and Patrick Philbin, are not
expected to be a part of the proceedings.
The Senate will consider an article of impeachment passed by the House of Representatives charging Mr Trump with inciting the storming of the US Capitol by his supporters before President Joe Biden’s inauguration in an attempt to halt the peaceful transition of power.
Republicans have made clear they will argue the hearing is unconstitutional because Mr Trump is no longer in office.
While eager to distance themselves from Mr Trump in the wake of the violent invasion of Congress, they have since eased up on their criticism in the face of anger by the former president’s loyal voter base.
All but five Senate Republicans backed a failed effort last Tuesday to halt the trial before it even started, in a clear sign he will not be convicted, regardless of his defence team.
Trump adviser Jason Miller said: “The Democrats’ efforts to impeach a president who has already left office is totally unconstitutional and so bad for our country.”