Despite having raised over $170m from his supporters that could be used for legal costs, former President Donald Trump has lost his impeachment defence team after bickering over fees. Previous reports indicated that he lost his lawyers because they didn't want to argue that the election was stolen during the impeachment trial, a debunked conspiracy theory Mr Trump still appears to push.
In a number of strained phone calls, Mr Trump and his top attorney Butch Bowers haggled over fees. Mr Trump, who has a history of being close-fisted and avoiding settling his debts, was "delighted" at first when he agreed with Mr Bowers that he would be paid $250,000, according to Axios.
But Mr Trump wasn't aware that Mr Bowers hadn't included other expenses in that sum such as other lawyers, research and further legal fees.
Mr Trump was reportedly furious when Mr Bowers suggested a total sum of $3m. After another call, Mr Trump got him down to $1m.
The entire interaction angered Mr Trump and his team as they think that the trial will be pretty simple, as 45 Republicans have already voted for a resolution that stated that an impeachment trial of a former president is unconstitutional.
Senate Republicans have made it pretty clear that it's unlikely that there are 17 members of their caucus willing to vote to convict, which is the number required on the Republican side to get over the two-thirds threshold if Democrats vote en masse to convict Mr Trump.
Mr Trump and his advisers had already planned on paying separately for an audio and video team, a rapid response team, and a legislative liaison, Axios reports.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who helped Mr Trump get in touch with Mr Bowers, told Axios: "I think there was some problems getting money for it, but it wasn't [just] that," referring to that the argument over money wasn't the only thing that ended the agreement. The President's insistence that they argue the election was stolen because of mass voter fraud instead of focusing on the constitutionality of the trial was part of the problem as well.
"Just too many cooks in the kitchen," Mr Graham said.
Trump adviser Jason Miller said: "These guys are no longer relevant. We have our lawyers in place, we have a solid team, and we're looking ahead."
Mr Trump's new legal team consists of David Schoen and Bruce Castor. Mr Castor is a former district attorney for Montgomery County, a Philadelphia suburb. Mr Schoen recently represented Trump associate and self-proclaimed dirty trickster Roger Stone in a sentencing appeal, according to Politico.
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