In what may feel like impeachment déjà vu, former independent counsels in the Clinton impeachment investigation Ken Starr and Robert Ray will be a part of President Trump’s legal defense team in the Senate impeachment trial, CBS News has confirmed. Alan Dershowitz, who has voted for Democrats in the past but frequently defends the president on Fox News, will also be a part of the team. 

Starr and Dershowitz will not be lead counsel for the president’s defense — that role will be left to White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump personal attorney Jay Sekulow. White House counsel’s office deputies Patrick Philbin and Mike Purpura will also assist with the president’s defense. 

Dershowitz, who opposed the impeachment of Bill Clinton and voted for Hillary Clinton, had been considering joining the president’s defense team for several weeks. 

“It’s a historic event and I’ve expressed my views about it over time. I agreed to do it an an independent constitutional scholar. I take no position on the politics — just on the Constitution,” Dershowitz told CBS News. 

“I’m very, very concerned the precedent this could establish for future presidents,” he added. “It could weaken the presidency and weaponize impeachment as a partisan tactic.”

The news comes one day after the Senate formally initiated the president’s impeachment trial with the swearing in of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and the swearing in of 99 U.S. senators. The action of the trial will begin Tuesday afternoon.

This is a developing story and will be updated.


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