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Trump adds Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz to impeachment defense team

President Donald Trump is adding three seasoned lawyers to his...

Posted: Jan 17, 2020 9:41 AM
Updated: Jan 17, 2020 9:30 PM

President Donald Trump is adding three seasoned lawyers to his impeachment legal defense team, the White House confirmed Friday night, including Kenneth Starr, the hard-charging prosecutor whose work led to President Bill Clinton's impeachment.

Alan Dershowitz, the constitutional lawyer, and Robert Ray, Starr's successor at the Office of Independent Counsel during the Clinton administration, are also joining the team, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

The three are expected to join a legal team headed by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and outside attorney Jay Sekulow, who are still expected to deliver statements on the President's behalf on the Senate floor. Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Trump's longtime personal counsel Jane Raskin and attorney Eric Herschmann will also supplement the President's impeachment legal team, Grisham said. All are expected to have speaking roles, people familiar with the matter told CNN.

'President Trump has done nothing wrong and is confident that this team will defend him, the voters, and our democracy from this baseless, illegitimate impeachment,' Grisham said in the statement.

Trump's impeachment trial over the Ukraine scandal officially began on Thursday. The outcome is all but determined, as the two-thirds vote required to remove the President would need 20 Republican senators to break rank. The White House did not mount a formal defense during the House's investigation as it refused to cooperate with the Democratic-led probe.

A spokesman for Trump's legal team said Dershowitz will present oral arguments at the Senate trial.

'He is participating in this impeachment trial to defend the integrity of the Constitution and to prevent the creation of a dangerous constitutional precedent,' said the legal team, which noted Dershowitz opposed Clinton's impeachment and voted for his wife, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 presidential election.

Later Friday, Dershowitz told the website Mediaite it was an exaggeration to say he was joining the team per se. Instead, he described his role as more confined.

'I think it overstates it to say I'm a member of the Trump team. I was asked to present the constitutional argument that I would have presented had Hillary Clinton been elected and had she been impeached,' Dershowitz told the website. 'I was asked to present my constitutional argument against impeachment. I will be there for one hour, basically, presenting my argument.'

In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on 'Anderson Cooper 360,' Dershowitz was asked to clarify his role as part of the legal team appearing at the Senate trial on behalf of Trump. He said he has been asked to 'prepare and deliver the constitutional case against impeachment that benefits the President.'

'It's the same argument I would have made if Hillary Clinton had been elected and had been impeached,' Dershowitz said. 'I will go into the history of the formulation in the Constitution and the history of how these words came to be and leave it to others to argue the facts, to make strategic decisions about witnesses. That's not within my jurisdiction.'

Dershowitz referred to himself as an 'advocate against impeachment.'

Starr, Dershowitz and Ray are expected to play a constitutional and historic role during the proceedings to support Cipollone and Sekulow.

Trump has relied on Dershowitz for advice throughout the Mueller investigation and during his impeachment. The two had been in discussions about Dershowitz joining for several weeks.

Bondi has been working at the White House as an adviser during the impeachment proceedings. Raskin is a white-collar defense lawyer who, along with her husband, worked for Trump during the Mueller investigation.

A decision on allowing House GOP allies to participate in the defense is still fluid, people with the matter said.

Officials have been hesitant to speak about who they are adding to the legal team after a botched attempt to hire Trey Gowdy last fall. Gowdy became the new face of Trump's impeachment defense team for only a matter of hours before Trump said federal lobbying rules wouldn't allow him to begin until January. He has continued to speak to Gowdy privately about the situation.

Celebrity defense attorneys

Trump's decision to add Starr, Dershowitz and Ray not only adds decades of experience to his defense but legal star power for a President always mindful of having advocates who can present his case well in the media.

Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor, gained fame as a member of O.J. Simpson's defense team in the ex-football star's criminal trial in the mid-1990s. He's since defended many notable clients and remains a familiar legal analyst on television. Some aides have privately voiced concerns that his presence could be distracting given his ties to Jeffrey Epstein, the late pedophile businessman. Dershowitz is embroiled in a lawsuit with a woman who claims she was a victim of Epstein's, who also claims Dershowitz sexually abused and defamed her. Dershowitz has since countersued, claiming she defamed and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on him.

Starr became a household name in the late 1990s as the then-independent counsel overseeing the investigation that led to Clinton's impeachment. The probe began with Starr looking into the Clintons' involvement with the Whitewater land deal before the investigation expanded to include the extramarital affair between Bill Clinton and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

When Starr stepped down in October 1999, citing the 'intense politicization of the independent counsel process,' he was succeeded by Ray.

After the announcement Friday morning, Lewinsky tweeted, 'this is definitely an 'are you f---ing kidding me?' kinda day.'

This story has been updated to include additional reporting and background.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 350070

Reported Deaths: 7590
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24512449
DeSoto23513283
Harrison21172335
Rankin15798293
Jackson15735254
Madison11171227
Lee10903180
Jones9223169
Forrest9027163
Lauderdale8087244
Lamar724890
Lowndes7199152
Lafayette6631125
Washington5661140
Pearl River5357154
Oktibbeha503198
Bolivar5004134
Warren4817128
Panola4812112
Marshall4739106
Pontotoc452473
Hancock440388
Neshoba4401181
Union438979
Monroe4369138
Lincoln4228116
Pike3739114
Leflore3676125
Alcorn355374
Tate354988
Sunflower351094
Adams347490
Scott346677
Yazoo342977
Copiah330869
Simpson327191
Itawamba317281
Coahoma315685
Tippah312869
Prentiss302563
Covington302384
Marion289882
Leake288676
Wayne280945
George277351
Grenada272188
Newton266864
Tishomingo240770
Winston238084
Stone235338
Jasper234748
Attala228674
Chickasaw221460
Holmes202574
Clay201954
Clarke189580
Tallahatchie185642
Calhoun183232
Smith183036
Yalobusha173641
Walthall150449
Lawrence145426
Greene141935
Amite139144
Noxubee137235
Perry136138
Montgomery133944
Carroll127031
Webster124332
Jefferson Davis119834
Tunica116127
Benton107825
Claiborne105931
Kemper104429
Humphreys102333
Franklin88424
Quitman86319
Choctaw83119
Wilkinson79332
Jefferson72228
Sharkey51918
Issaquena1746
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 592417

Reported Deaths: 11542
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson861091591
Mobile49771865
Madison37714533
Shelby27501259
Tuscaloosa27344465
Montgomery26343628
Baldwin25860329
Lee17336181
Calhoun15498334
Morgan15225291
Etowah15060370
Marshall13198236
Houston12191293
Elmore10977219
St. Clair10852252
Limestone10816158
Cullman10610206
Lauderdale10305254
DeKalb9594192
Talladega9005188
Walker7840288
Autauga7615114
Jackson7431117
Blount7417139
Colbert6752142
Coffee6443132
Dale5723117
Russell482243
Chilton4810117
Covington4804125
Franklin462781
Tallapoosa4571156
Escambia451083
Chambers3987125
Dallas3751163
Clarke372263
Marion3470107
Pike334079
Lawrence3277100
Winston300773
Bibb292865
Geneva288383
Marengo262967
Barbour253761
Pickens247762
Butler242472
Hale236778
Fayette228165
Henry216545
Monroe204541
Randolph202844
Cherokee200748
Washington186839
Macon171552
Crenshaw170658
Clay167159
Cleburne161845
Lamar151938
Lowndes146255
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh122132
Coosa119529
Perry111228
Sumter110633
Greene99337
Choctaw64425
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