The legal team of Donald Trump stood down days before the second impeachment trial began.
Another big blow has been dealt to former US President Donald Trump, as key members of his security team are said to be deserting him.
Crucial members of the legal team of Donald Trump are rumored to have turned their backs on the former president just days before the start of his second impeachment trial.
According to a CNN bombshell article, many "familiar with the case" individuals say no fewer than five Trump defense team attorneys have stood down due to disagreements over the legal strategy of the former President.
For the 74-year-old, who found it a struggle to find lawyers able to defend him in the first place for his second impeachment trial, it is a big setback.
Legal briefs are due next week for the Senate trial, with the trial set to begin days later, on February 9.
But CNN notes that two team-leading attorneys, Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, have stepped aside based on a "mutual decision," though Josh Howard, Johnny Gasser and Greg Harris, fellow legal experts, are no longer involved.
Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Trump's counsel, was never on the second impeachment team because he was present during the riot on January 6.
"Because I may be a witness, legal ethics rules would prohibit me from representing the President in the impeachment trial as a trial counsel," Mr. Giuliani told CBS News last month.
Also, this time around, a number of high-profile attorneys from the first impeachment trial of Mr Trump are not involved.
An insider told CNN a big issue was that during the November election, the former president wanted his team to concentrate on reports of massive voter fraud and allegations that the election was stolen from him, rather than the "legality of convicting a president after he left office."
None of the five attorneys in question have publicly commented so far on the situation.
The news was also confirmed by Politico, with a quote from Trump spokesman Jason Miller also published in the paper.
Mr Miller refused to recognize the resignations, but took the opportunity to blast the mechanism of impeachment as Republicans say it is illegal to prosecute former presidents.
In a tweet, Mr. Miller said, "The Democrats' efforts to impeach a president who has already left office are totally unconstitutional and so bad for our country."
Currently, 45 senators have already voted to declare it unconstitutional. We did a lot of work, but we didn't make a final decision on our legal team, which will be made soon.
After being accused of misuse of power and obstruction after asking Ukraine to find dirt on political opponent Joe Biden and his son, Donald Trump became the third US president to be impeached in December 2019.
Ultimately, he was acquitted, but last month, after being charged with "incitement of insurrection" over the siege of Washington DC on January 6, he became the first President to be impeached twice.
The protests saw the Capitol being stormed by thousands of pro-Trump insurrectionists and threatening to overthrow democracy.
The siege of Washington left five dead and dozens wounded, and the newly inaugurated President Joe Biden decried it as an act of "domestic terrorism."
In order to convict Mr Trump, two-thirds of the Senate will be required, with most analysts agreeing it's a task that is unlikely to be pulled off.
But if Mr. Trump is convicted, Congress will then work for the remainder of his days to block him from public office, which would be a surprising setback considering that the billionaire previously told supporters that he intended to run again in 2024.