Jan 17, 2020

Trump impeachment team includes Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Trump's impeachment team for the Senate trial will include Ken Starr, Robert Ray, Alan Dershowitz in addition to lawyers Pat Cipollone, Jay Sekulow and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, per two sources familiar with the matter.

The state of play: Jane Raskin will also be a part of the legal team, per one source familiar, as will Eric Herschmann according to a White House statement. Dershowitz will present oral arguments at the trial to address the constitutional arguments against impeachment and removal, per a statement.The New York Times first reported the details about the president's counsel.

"While Professor Dershowitz is non partisan when it comes to the constitution—he opposed the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and voted for Hillary Clinton— he believes the issues at stake go to the heart of our enduring Constitution."
— Alan Dershowitz tweeted

Behind the scenes: Several White House officials told me they were hoping Trump wouldn’t pick Alan Dershowitz to play a role in the Senate trial.

  • They said it was an unforced error given the team was already strong and he has close, publicly documented ties to Jeffrey Epstein which could become a distraction.
  • But Trump thinks Dershowitz is magnificent on TV, a White House official told me.

Go deeper

Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.