President Trump is once again on the verge of impeachment by the House, this time with no formal legal defense in sight.
Trump has nothing on his public schedule, and the White House has given no details of any defense underway. The House impeachment vote comes a week after an attack on the Capitol by supporters of the president. Impeachment advocates say Trump incited the mob to breach the Capitol while Congress was attempting to certify the 2020 presidential election results.
In his Senate impeachment trial last year, White House counsel Pat Cipollone helped lead the effort. This time, reports claim Cipollone urged White House staff to stay away.
“We better have one,” senior adviser Jason Miller said of an impeachment defense strategy.
One former campaign official in regular contact with Trump’s aides said she “hasn’t heard a thing.”
And on Wednesday, legal scholar Alan Dershowitz, who aided Trump’s impeachment defense last year, told the Washington Examiner that he would not be defending Trump.
Dershowitz last week told Politico that it would be his “honor and privilege” to represent the president, but a former White House aide said he thought the Trump ally had already been through the ringer plenty.
“He’s been beaten up enough,” said Joe Grogan, former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.
Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, could still step in.
This time, several Republicans have said they will vote to impeach Trump, including Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the GOP conference chairwoman who came out on Tuesday to support the article Democrats introduced.
Trump criticized “the Liz Cheneys of the world” during the rally last week, an event that led to the accusations he incited his supporters’ deadly Jan. 6 rampage.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, told reporters Wednesday that he believes up to a dozen Republican lawmakers may vote with Cheney.
California Democratic Party Rep. Eric Swalwell told PBS NewsHour in an interview that this would be a “unity impeachment,” with bipartisan support.
In a bid to stem this, Trump’s allies say GOP voters are standing with the president.
“The Republican base is squarely with President Trump,” Miller said.
A new survey from Trump campaign pollster John McLaughlin is being used to make that case to lawmakers.
With the clock running out on Trump’s remaining time in office, the poll finds 60% of voters believe that it’s a “waste of time” to impeach him before President-elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
“Voters strongly prefer that Congress deal with fighting coronavirus and not impeachment,” a memo from McLaughlin reads.
Republican Rep. Tom Cole, the ranking member on the House Rules Committee, argued that this is a rushed impeachment that will weaken future efforts to impeach presidents. GOP Rep. Jim Jordan said he thought Democrats’ actions amounted to overreach and that the insurrection could not be directly linked to Trump.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.