Former President Donald Trump has started putting together the defense team for his historic second Senate impeachment trial, starting with hiring South Carolina-based lawyer Butch Bowers.
Trump adviser Jason Miller, who announced the hiring on Twitter, said Bowers “is well respected by both Republicans and Democrats and will do an excellent job defending President Trump.” Miller would not say whether others had signed on or whether Bowers would be the sole lawyer representing Trump.
Republican senators were briefed about Bowers’ involvement on a GOP conference call Thursday afternoon, two people familiar with the discussions said. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., mentioned that he had recommended Bowers to Trump, the sources said.
Asked later about Trump’s legal team, Graham told reporters: “Well, I think he’s going to have a good one. Butch Bowers, I think, will be the sort of anchor tenant. But I’ve known Butch for a long time, solid guy. And I think over time, they’ll put the team together.”
Graham, who has been advising Trump, shared that he had spoken to Trump about the trial earlier Thursday. “I think the president looks forward to getting this behind him. … He’s going to have his day in court, and that’s the way the system works.”
Graham said Bowers “was involved in very complex litigation — he’s represented the state of South Carolina and federal court over lots of issues.” For example, Bowers was counsel to Gov. Mark Sanford when he faced impeachment in the South Carolina House in 2009. He also served in the Justice Department in President George W. Bush’s administration.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., echoed Graham’s confidence in Bowers. “He’s a competent attorney who has served well in South Carolina and understands election laws about as good as anyone that I know, so it’ll be interesting to watch it all unfold,” he said.
Most of the lawyers involved with Trump’s first impeachment defense team have said they are not participating in the second trial, among them Rudy Giuliani, Jay Sekulow, Alan Dershowitz and former White House counsel Pat Cipollone.
Bowers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Monica Alba is a White House correspondent for NBC News.
Kasie Hunt, the host of MSNBC’s “Way Too Early,” is a Capitol Hill correspondent for NBC News.
Julie Tsirkin is an associate producer for NBC News’ Capitol Hill team.
Frank Thorp V