Donald Trump spent his first hours as a private citizen scrambling to find lawyers to represent him in his upcoming impeachment trial, as he settled into his new home at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
One of Mr Trump’s first calls after leaving office was to Lindsey Graham, South Carolina senator and staunch ally, telling him he was now “looking for some lawyers” for the imminent Senate hearing.
“[Trump] said, ‘I really don’t know the lay of the land here,’ and he’s looking for some lawyers,” Mr Graham told Punchbowl News. “I’m trying to help him there, and he’s just trying to put together a team.”
Mr Trump will not be drawing on his usual litigators: Rudy Giuliani, his longtime personal lawyer, is likely to step aside as he could be called as a witness, while attorneys who represented him at the first impeachment hearing have declined.
Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, has yet to send the article of impeachment to the Senate. According to Senate rules, the Republican former president’s trial would start the day after the charge is sent over.
A trial, would could last as little as three days, would determine whether the president is guilty of, per the article of impeachment, “willfully [making] statements to the crowd that encouraged and foreseeably resulted in lawless action at the Capitol” on Jan. 6.
A short trial would also allow the Senate, now controlled by Democrats, to focus on President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda and confirming his cabinet nominees.
In any case, Republicans do not believe there are 16 votes to convict the former president – the number of senators needed to join Democrats.
If indicted, however, Mr Trump will face a ban on ever holding office again.
In his final days in office, Mr Trump told confidants that he was still weighing making another run for the White House.