Trump's impeachment legal team includes familiar faces from Clinton's trial

By Grace Segers

/ CBS News

Who's who on Trump's legal team

The White House has announced the legal team that will represent President Trump in his upcoming impeachment trial. It includes some familiar faces from the trial of former President Bill Clinton.

"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," the White House said in the statement announcing the president's attorneys.

The team has until Saturday at 6 p.m. ET to respond to a summons the Senate issued to Mr. Trump notifying him of the trial. Mr. Trump must respond in writing. The team must also prepare a legal brief, which is due Monday at noon.

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The attorneys defending Mr. Trump are:

  • White House counsel Pat Cipollone
  • Jay Sekulow, private counsel to Mr. Trump
  • Former independent counsel Ken Starr
  • Alan Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, Harvard Law School
  • Pam Bondi, special adviser to the president and former attorney general of Florida
  • Jane Raskin, private counsel to Mr. Trump
  • Eric Herschmann, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres LLP
  • Former independent counsel Robert Ray
  • White House lawyer Michael Purpura
  • White House lawyer Patrick Philbin

The White House did not include Purpura and Philbin in its statement Friday announcing Mr. Trump's Senate trial counsel, but CBS News has confirmed they are on his legal team.

Starr was the independent counsel who investigated Clinton, and his work was the basis for Clinton's impeachment. Ray succeeded Starr as the head of the Office of the Independent Counsel investigating Clinton in 1999, and submitted the final report on the scandal involving Clinton's affair with a White House intern in 2002. At the end of Clinton's time in office, Ray struck a deal with Clinton to prevent Clinton from being prosecuted if Clinton gave up his law license and payed a $25,000 fine upon leaving the presidency.

Dershowitz, who is famous for defending O.J. Simpson and supporting Clinton in the 1990s, has recently been under scrutiny for his ties to Jeffrey Epstein, the deceased financier and convicted pedophile. Starr also previously represented Epstein.

"It's a historic event and I've expressed my views about it over time. I agreed to do it an an independent constitutional scholar. I take no position on the politics — just on the Constitution," Dershowitz told CBS News on Friday.

"I'm very, very concerned the precedent this could establish for future presidents," he added. "It could weaken the presidency and weaponize impeachment as a partisan tactic."

The Senate trial is set to begin Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. ET. Cipollone and Jay Sekulow will be the lead attorneys in Mr. Trump's defense.

Almost all senators were sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Thursday to conduct the trial impartially.

The White House said in its statement announcing the president's attorneys, "The President looks forward to the end of this partisan and unconstitutional impeachment. It's time for Congress to turn its attention back to the work of the American people and leave sham political investigations like this one in the past."

Paula Reid contributed to this report

First published on January 18, 2020 / 10:57 AM

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Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.