Giuliani won’t be part of Trump defense at Senate trial

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President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Monday he will not be part of the president’s defense team for the upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate, saying he could be called as a witness due to his involvement in the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the Capitol riot.

“Due to the fact that I may be a witness, the rules of legal ethics would prohibit me from representing the President as trial counsel in the impeachment trial,” Giuliani said in a statement to The Hill.

The news that Giuliani would not join the defense team was first reported by ABC News. The New York Times also reported on Monday that Giuliani would not be involved in the president’s defense, citing a person close to Trump.

Giuliani previously told ABC that he was working on Trump’s impeachment defense prior to meeting with the president at the White House over the weekend. The former New York City mayor led Trump’s futile legal effort to overturn the election results late last year.

No announcements have been made on who will represent the president at the trial. Giuliani told The Hill earlier this month he would be willing to represent Trump at a Senate trial, as did Alan Dershowitz, the controversial celebrity attorney who was among those representing Trump at his first impeachment trial.

Some White House allies had privately expressed concerns about the prospect of Giuliani defending the president. Longtime Republican consultant Karl Rove said over the weekend that Trump was more likely to be convicted at a Senate trial if Giuliani defended him. 

Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for a second time earlier this month following the deadly riot on Capitol Hill. Giuliani, along with Trump, spoke at the “Save America” rally in Washington, D.C., shortly before the attack on the Capitol.

Trump had urged supporters to come to D.C. for the rally earlier in the day on Jan. 6 near the White House, where he blasted Republicans who planned to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral win as weak and told supporters to march to the Capitol. A pro-Trump mob later overwhelmed law enforcement at the Capitol complex, forcing lawmakers to evacuate and leading to the deaths of five people. The counting of the electoral vote was also delayed.

House Democrats focused on the president’s speech at the rally when crafting the impeachment article. Ten Republican lawmakers voted in favor of impeaching Trump last week, whereas the first impeachment vote in the House in December 2019 was not bipartisan. 

Giuliani spoke to the crowd at the Ellipse on Jan. 6 before Trump’s remarks and called for “trial by combat.” He later defended his remarks, telling The Hill that he was making a reference to the television show “Game of Thrones.”

The House has not yet transmitted the article of impeachment to the Senate. It is unclear precisely when an impeachment trial in the upper chamber will begin.

Updated: 2:23 p.m.

Tags Alan Dershowitz Donald Trump Donald Trump Impeachment impeachment trial Joe Biden Karl Rove Rudy Giuliani
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