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Politics
Donald Trump is the first U.S. president to be impeached twice. In 2021, he was impeached for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection in the attack on the U.S. Capitol. In 2020, he was impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to a phone call made to the president of Ukraine.

Trump Hires SC Lawyer For Impeachment Defense Team

Donald Trump
Shealah Craighead
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White House 45 / Flickr
Donald Trump, shown here speaking at the 2019 State of the Union address, has hired a South Carolina-based lawyer to represent him during his second impeachment.

This article is made possible through a partnership between WFAE and Votebeat, a nonpartisan reporting project covering local election integrity and voting access. This article is available for reprint under the terms of our republishing policy.

Former president Donald Trump has hired Butch Bowers of South Carolina to represent him in his Senate impeachment trial that is expected to begin the week of Feb. 8.

Jason Miller, a longtime adviser to Trump, announced the hire on Twitter on Thursday.

Bowers is currently part of the Miller Law Group, based in North Carolina, and licensed to practice in South Carolina and Washington, D.C. The Columbia-based lawyer has represented a number of Republican politicians in both states over the past 20 years, including former North Carolina governor Pat McCrory’s legal battles related to HB2, also known as the bathroom bill.

Butch Bowers
U.S. Air Force
Butch Bowers

Bowers also represented McCrory during lawsuits over North Carolina’s Voter ID laws, and the South Carolina Election Commission during similar litigation.

Bowers is the first lawyer announced as part of Donald Trump’s legal team for his impeachment trial. The former president was impeached Jan. 13 for incitement of insurrection.

Trump turned to Bowers, a familiar figure in Republican legal circles, after other legal allies passed on the case. That's a notable departure from his first impeachment trial in 2020, when he had a stable of prominent attorneys — including Alan Dershowitz, Jay Sekulow, who represented him in the Russia investigation, and Kenneth Starr — standing in his corner.

The first impeachment trial turned on charges that Trump improperly solicited Ukraine’s help for his reelection campaign. The Senate acquitted him of those charges. The new trial could hinge on broader issues of law, including “whether the Constitution even allows a post-impeachment action in the Senate,” said Sekulow, who is not participating in Trump’s legal defense.

Sekulow said he did not expect Bowers, who has years of experience representing elected officials and political candidates — including former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford against a failed impeachment effort that morphed into an ethics probe — to be hindered by having never defended a current or former president in a Senate trial. Sekulow noted that he, too, had never done it before.

“He’s an excellent lawyer with a tremendous reputation who understands the law and politics,” Sekulow said Friday.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham recommended Bowers to Trump and told Fox News he sees him as the “anchor tenant” of Trump’s team. Trump adviser Jason Miller, who also ran Sanford’s gubernatorial and congressional campaigns, said Bowers “will do an excellent job defending President Trump.”

His strategy for Trump's defense is unclear, though questioning the validity of the trial is a clear option. Many Republicans in the Senate — the jurors he'll need to persuade — have said they harbor doubts about whether an impeachment trial for an ex-official is constitutional, even though it has happened before.

The historic second impeachment of the president followed a mob attack at the U.S. Capitol a week earlier on Jan. 6, leading to five deaths.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed Friday that she will deliver the article of impeachment to the Senate on Monday, which would then trigger the start of the trial.

Senate leaders announced Friday that they have agreed for the trial to begin Feb. 8.

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