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2020-01-17 14:18:471 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
Donald Trump seems to finally realize that this impeachment thing is real and serious and that there is much at stake for him. However, he still seems to be under the impression that he has not been impeached yet. Perhaps the two very familiar names joining his defense team can school him a little, though these two have had to defend themselves lately, so they may not be the best choice.
According to NBC News sources, Trump has named former independent counsel for Bill Clinton's impeachment trial, Kenneth Starr, and Alan Dershowitz, most known for defending O.J. Simpson, Harvey Weinstein, and Jeffrey Epstein, to his defense team. The team will be led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and the president's personal attorney, Jay Sekulow.
Also on the team will be Starr's successor as special counsel in the Clinton case, Robert Ray, as well as former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi and Miami-based criminal defense attorney Jane Raskin. She was already one of Trump's personal attorneys, along with her husband.
It was a wise choice not to put Rudy Giuliani, who is embroiled in the Ukraine scandal, on the team. Not that it means he won't be finding some way to insert himself, but he's not officially on the team, at any rate.
NBC News's source said that Bondi will present during oral arguments, joined by Cipollone, Sekulow, and Dershowitz. It's expected that Dershowitz will be handling constitutional arguments.
Trump tweeted a quote from Sean Hannity's show on Thursday night when Dershowitz was a guest. He criticized a report by the congressional watchdog, Government Accountability Office, that said the White House had broken the law by withholding military aid to Ukraine.
"The GOA got it exactly backwards," Trump wrote, quoting Dershowitz, while getting the acronym wrong for the Governmental Accountability Office.
While Dershowitz was a Harvard law professor, Starr was president of Baylor University and resigned in 2016 as chancellor when he and school officials were being investigated over claims an investigation into sexual assault by football players was mishandled. An independent investigation found that with Starr in charge, the school discouraged "some complainants from reporting or participating in student conduct processes and in one instance constituted retaliation against a complainant for reporting sexual assault."
It's interesting he would be against the reporting of sexual assault, as he was the special counsel in the Clinton investigation of his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He recommended that Clinton be impeached for lying under oath about the true nature of his relationship with the intern.
After the news first hit that he was joining Trump's defense team, Lewinsky tweeted, "This is definitely an 'are you f------ kidding me?' kinda day."
Starr and Dershowitz together defended Epstein a decade ago against allegations he'd sexually abused multiple girls at his estate in Florida. They helped him get a deal where he only needed to plead guilty to abusing one of the girls. He served 13 months in county jail and was allowed to leave for work. He was arrested again last year, only to take his own life while locked up, though conspiracy theories claim he didn't kill himself.
Dershowitz remained friends with Epstein after his release during his first incarceration. Accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre sued Dershowitz for defamation last year, specifying in the suit that she'd been a victim of sex trafficking and abuse by Epstein and that the attorney had said she fabricated her claims. She also alleged Dershowitz was a participant in the sex crimes and that Epstein had lent her out to him for sex.
He has denied it, telling reporters in September, "I've never met Virginia Giuffre. I've never had sex with her. And the reason I'm saying it is because it's true."
Trump was officially notified of the trial and charges against him on Thursday night. He is required to respond to the summons in writing by Saturday evening.
Trump lamented about the impeachment trial to college football National Champions LSU Tigers. When they joined him in the Oval Office, he said the office has had "some good, some not so good" occupants, "but you got a good one now, even though they're trying to impeach the son of a bitch, can you believe that?"
He seems to still be missing the point that he has already been impeached by the House. Like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently told him, he's "impeached for life." The only thing left up to the Senate trial is if he will be removed from office. Regardless of whether he will be or not, he will still be impeached.
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