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Trump, former impeachment lawyer argued over fees: report

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Navajo Nation president on Arizona's new voting restrictions: An 'assault' on our rights The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE and his ex-impeachment lawyer Butch Bowers argued over legal fees in a dispute that compounded disagreements about the defense team’s strategy, Axios reported on Tuesday.

The conflict resulted in Bowers, along with four other attorneys, reportedly leaving the team over the weekend and the Trump team announcing David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr. as the new leading attorneys for his defense on Sunday.

The disagreements highlighted the challenges the 45th president faces in forming a legal team to argue against his second impeachment. 

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Sources familiar with conversations between Trump and Bowers, who was connected with the former president through Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamPro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood causes headache for GOP in key S.C. race GOP governors move to cut unemployment benefits as debate rages over effects Trump critics push new direction for GOP MORE (R-S.C.), told Axios they quarreled over the price of compensation over several phone calls. 

The initial agreement was that Trump would pay Bowers $250,000 for his individual services, which “delighted” the former president, a source told Axios. But Trump did not realize this figure did not include funding for more lawyers, researchers and other legal fees. 

When Bowers came back with a $3 million budget, Trump and his team grew angry, despite the fact that he had raised $170 million for legal defense spending as his team had already prepared to separately fund audiovisuals, a rapid-response team and a legislative liaison. 

Trump's team reportedly believed the case to be fairly simply after only five GOP senators rejected an effort by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to declare the looming trial unconstitutional

"I think there was some problems getting money for it, but it wasn't [just] that,” Graham said, according to Axios. "Just too many cooks in the kitchen."

Senior adviser Jason Miller confirmed to The Hill his comments to Axios, calling the former legal team “no longer relevant.” 

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“We have our lawyers in place, we have a solid team, and we're looking ahead," Miller said.

Schoen, one of the current defense attorneys, told Fox News’s Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityMcCarthy dings Biden after meeting: Doesn't have 'energy of Donald Trump' Jenner says she didn't vote in 2020: 'I just couldn't get excited about it' White House says Biden won't 'underestimate Trump' if he runs in 2024 MORE that he plans to argue that convicting Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol would jeopardize free speech in general.

Trump’s defense will also assert that impeaching him after he's left office is unconstitutional and that some rioters had planned to storm the Capitol ahead of Trump’s speech to supporters.

Ten Republicans joined with Democrats in the House to impeach Trump for a second time a week before his presidency ended, charging him with incitement of insurrection after his supporters raided the Capitol, resulting in five deaths, including that of a Capitol Police officer.

Senate leaders agreed to wait until Feb. 9 to begin the trial to give Trump time to plan a defense.