Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr and Robert Ray, the independent counsels who investigated ex-President Bill Clinton, are joining President Donald Trump's impeachment legal defense team.
Fox News, quoting a White House source, said former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Trump’s longtime personal counsel Jane Raskin will also work with the legal team.
Dershowitz will present oral arguments to the Senate concerning constitutional arguments against impeachment and removal according to a statement from an impeachment team spokesperson posted on Dershowitz's Twitter account:
"Professor Dershowitz will present oral arguments at the Senate trial to address the constitutional arguments against impeachment and removal.. While Professor Dershowitz is non partisan when it comes to the constitution — he opposed the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and voted for Hillary Clinton — he believes the issues at stake go to the heart of our enduring Constitution. He is participating in this impeachment trial to defend the integrity of the Constitution and to prevent the creation of a dangerous constitutional precedent."
“The president asked me to do this, and the legal team asked me to do this,” Dershowitz told CNBC Friday morning.
The appointments of Ray and Starr were reported by multiple media outlets based on anonymous sources, and were not immediately confirmed.
CNN's Dana Bash, commenting on the news, said she sees Trump's hand "100%" in the choices of the top three.
"One thing I'll say is that Dershowitz is an appellate lawyer," said Bash. "He's a professor. He's on TV...I don't know how many recent cases he's actually tried."
Dershowitz is a well-known figure in legal circles, having represented clients including O.J. Simpson and Jeffrey Epstein. Meanwhile, Ray succeeded Starr as special counsel in the Clinton investigation.
Ray and Starr have served as Fox News contributors. The network confirmed Friday that Starr is no longer one.
Trump's legal team is led by White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and the president's personal attorney, Jay Sekulow.
However, reaction may be mixed to Dershowitz being added, Axios' Jonathan Swan reports saying some White House officials told him they had hoped Trump would not pick Dershowitz.
However, Swan said a White House official told him Trump thinks Dershowitz is magnificent on television.
Former Rep. Trey Gowdy, now a Fox News contributor, said he thinks Sekulow and Cipollone will be doing most of the talking during the proceedings.
"Alan Dershowitz, I'm sure, is a great constitutional law professor," said Gowdy. "I'm sure they weighed and balanced the pluses and minuses of adding him to the team. But you can only talk one at a time, and I would be shocked if Pat and Jay did not do most of the talking and this trial."
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