Trump gets new legal team as impeachment trial looms

Former U.S. President Donald Trump's unprecedented second impeachment trial will begin to take shape this week, as Democrats outline their case and Trump scrambles to prepare a defense amid disarray on his legal team.

Trump abruptly replaced his top lawyers over the weekend, announcing Sunday night that attorneys David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr. will take over representing him at his Senate trial.

Schoen represented Trump's former adviser Roger Stone, who was convicted of lying under oath to lawmakers investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

While Castor is a former Pennsylvania district attorney known for his decision not to prosecute entertainer Bill Cosby in 2005 on sexual assault allegations that years later sent Cosby to prison.

The shakeup comes just days before an official response to the impeachment charge is due on Tuesday and just over a week before the trial begins Feb. 9.

A source familiar with the situation described the departures of his previous lawyers Butch Bowers and Deborah Barberi as a "mutual decision."

While a third source said Trump had differences with Bowers over strategy ahead of the trial, as the president clings to his baseless view that he was the victim of mass election fraud in the 2020 election

The House of Representatives impeached Trump last month on a charge of "incitement of insurrection," after he encouraged his supporters on Jan. 6 to "fight" his election defeat just before the deadly assault on the Capitol.

Trump on Jan. 6: "We fight like hell, and if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore."

With a two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump in the Senate, Democrats face an uphill battle.

Seventeen Republicans would need to break ranks and vote to convict but there are strong indications that won't happen.

Last week, 45 of the 50 Republican senators supported a failed resolution declaring the trial unconstitutional because Trump is now a private citizen, having left office on Jan. 20.