President Donald Trump is adding three seasoned lawyers to his impeachment legal defense team, people familiar with the matter said, 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, the people said.
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 and Trump’s longtime personal counsel Jane Raskin will also supplement the President’s impeachment legal team, a person familiar with the matter said.
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.
Starr 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.