Trump Loses Top Impeachment Lawyers Days Before Trial as 'QAnon Shaman' Offers to Testify

Former President Donald Trump has lost his top impeachment lawyers with just over a week left until the start of the Senate trial that's expected to result in an acquittal, according to sources familiar with the situation. Meanwhile, Jacob Chansley, the "QAnon Shaman," has offered to testify in the upcoming proceedings.

Two unnamed people familiar with the matter told the Associated Press on Saturday that South Carolina attorneys Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier have left Trump's impeachment legal team. One of the sources described their departure as a "mutual decision" that was caused by differing opinions over the handling of the case.

One source said that two ex-South Carolina federal prosecutors, Greg Harris and Johnny Gasser, are also no longer part of Trump's defense team. Another source said that their replacements will be announced in the coming days.

Both sources requested anonymity as they were unauthorized to discuss the legal team's private exchanges.

Trump and Melania on Biden's inauguration
President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at Joint Base Andrews before boarding Air Force One for his last time as President on January 20, 2021 in Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Pete Marovich/Getty

In a statement on Saturday, Trump adviser Jason Miller said, "We have done much work, but have not made a final decision on our legal team, which will be made shortly."

Newsweek reached out to Trump representatives for comment. This story will be updated with any response.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch Trump ally, first announced that Bowers would be joining the legal team earlier this month. "Butch Bowers I think will be the sort of the anchor tenant," Graham said.

This week, Albert Watkins, a lawyer for Chansley—who's facing multiple charges for storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6 while wearing a furry hat with horns, facepaint and no shirt—offered to have his client testify. Watkins revealed that Chansley believes that Trump betrayed him by refusing his request for a pardon.

Graham warned against allowing Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, to testify at Trump's second impeachment trial. The Republican senator had previously criticized the House for impeaching Trump without any witnesses, but on Friday he said that allowing Chansley to testify could turn the trial into a "complete circus" that might "go for months."

In a phone interview with Newsweek, Watkins said that Chansley realizes that he was "made the fool" by the former president. "If there's going to be something more than a circus proceeding with clowns doing backflips during the impeachment proceedings, you have to have someone who was incited testify," the lawyer added.

The House voted 232-197 to impeach Trump on January 13, charging him with "incitement" of insurrection for his alleged role in the deadly Capitol riot on January 6.

On Tuesday, Senate Republicans overwhelmingly voted against allowing an impeachment trial in a 55-45 procedural vote. Seventeen Republicans in the upper chamber will need to cross party lines and vote with Democrats to convict Trump, but only five supported holding the trial.

"It is still in process, but I think [Tuesday's] vote on the Senate floor shows that it is extremely unlikely that President Trump would be convicted," GOP Senator Susan Collins of Maine told reporters on Wednesday.

Despite the low odds of a conviction, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has confirmed that the impeachment trial will start in the second week of February.