As the Senate gears up for Donald Trump’s impeachment trial later this year, the president has settled on at least two of his top legal defenders for the proceedings—and he’s still courting Alan Dershowitz.
“Pat Cipollone is leading the efforts as White House counsel; I’ll be one of the lawyers participating in the defense as the president’s private counsel,” Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal attorneys, told The Daily Beast in a brief statement Wednesday afternoon, confirming what he’d told Time magazine earlier in the day.
It is still unclear who, exactly, will make up the rest of Trump’s team of White House and outside counsel handling the trial.
According to a source familiar with the situation, matters are still fluid and the team has not been completely formed as of this time, though White House attorneys such as Michael Purpura and Patrick Philbin have been helping with preparations for Trump’s legal defense.
Two sources say that conversations between the president’s team and Alan Dershowitz, a famous, outspoken attorney and longtime Hillary Clinton supporter, are still ongoing, and no final decision has been made yet about Dershowitz officially joining, as well. Dershowitz has done numerous TV hits defending Trump during the president’s last few years of legal woes and investigations, and has informally advised Trump and senior staff on subjects such as the Middle East peace process. One of these knowledgeable sources said that Dershowitz has had multiple conversations with Trump and his team in recent weeks about the possible position.
Reached by phone on Wednesday, Dershowitz simply replied, “I can’t comment on any possible conversations about any possible legal work.”
According to these sources, one name that is not on the roster of Trump’s legal defense for the Senate impeachment trial is Rudy Giuliani, the Trump attorney at the center of the Ukraine saga that triggered the president’s impeachment in the House. Giuliani, however, remains one of President Trump’s personal lawyers and close outside advisers.
A White House spokesman did not provide comment for this story.