President Donald Trump is reportedly having quite a bit of difficulty putting together a legal team for his upcoming second impeachment trial and may end up being represented by a pair of House Republicans who aren’t licensed attorneys, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
According to the report, with essentially all respectable law firms and attorneys preferring to distance themselves from a president facing accusations that he incited an insurrectionist riot at the U.S. Capitol, Congressional Republicans have been discussing the prospect of Reps. Jim Jordan and Elise Stefanik defending Trump during his Senate trial.
Both are among Trump’s most virulent defenders in Congress and voted to oppose the ratification of Electoral College votes in favor of Joe Biden even after the president’s supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. Neither Stefanik nor Jordan has ever been a practicing attorney.
Jordan graduated from Ohio’s Capital University Law School in 2001, but subsequently decided not to sit for any states’ bar exam. Stefanik graduated with a degree in government from Harvard in 2006 and has never received any formal legal training.
While an impeachment hearing is technically a political proceeding, those being impeached typically retain attorneys; the case can turn on whether the subject of impeachment is guilty of a crime. For instance, President Trump is charged with “incitement of insurrection, which is explicitly prohibited by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states:
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.
Trump was represented by several experienced constitutional attorneys in his first impeachment, including Jay Sekulow, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, and Alan Dershowitz. They have all said they don’t want to be a part of the latest trial, according to Bloomberg. (Dershowitz recently told Law&Crime he would represent Trump in a future hypothetical trial, but that was shortly before Trump was actually impeached a second time. He told Bloomberg that he doesn’t believe the Constitution allows the senate to try Trump after he leaves office.)
Some reports have indicated that controversial attorney and former law professor John Eastman may be tapped for Trump’s team. Eastman became the subject of harsh backlash after he spoke at the rally that immediately preceded the capitol riots and retired from his tenured professorship at Chapman University on Wednesday. He previously made headlines when he erroneously suggested that Kamala Harris—who was born Oakland, Calif.—was ineligible to be vice president because her parents were non-citizens at the time of her birth. Under the constitution, anyone born on U.S. soil is a U.S. citizen.
Also not helping the president are reports that he is refusing to pay the legal fees of his longtime personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Law&Crime reached out to the offices of Reps. Jordan and Stefanik but received no response as of the time of this publication.
[image via Alex Edelman/Getty Images]
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