- The Washington Times - Friday, January 17, 2020

President Trump has assembled a gifted team of defense lawyers who will earn the Senate’s trust in his impeachment trial, former Trump lawyer John Dowd told The Washington Times in an exclusive interview.

“I like the team. It’s got a lot of talent,” said Mr. Dowd, a veteran attorney who represented the president during special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. “They’re really, really smart, but they don’t come off as arrogant. They will educate the Senate.”

The president’s defense team, led by White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, includes Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, Trump personal lawyer Jay Sekulow, and former independent counsels Kenneth W. Starr and Robert Ray, among others.

Mr. Dershowitz told Dan Abrams on SiriusXM on Friday afternoon that his participation will be limited to delivering an opening argument in the trial, and that he shouldn’t be considered a permanent part of the president’s team.

Mr. Dowd said of the looming impeachment trial, “I can’t stand this whole thing, I love the president, I’m sorry he’s going through it. But I tell you, I am looking forward to hearing these guys.”

“What you want to build is trust, like any jury,” he said. “Would you trust these guys? Yeah. They have a talent to understand the Constitution.”

He praised Mr. Dershowitz as “a brilliant, brilliant mind.” The choice of Mr. Dershowitz is raising eyebrows in some quarters due to his association with the late Jeffrey Epstein, though he also has been one of the most prominent law professors in America for decades.

“When he speaks about these issues, he educates people,” Mr. Dowd said of Mr. Dershowitz. “He doesn’t talk down to them. He doesn’t have an agenda. He goes right at it and explains to you what’s going on.”

He said Mr. Starr “makes a lot of sense and comes off as down-to-earth.”

“He’s just a very talented guy and I think he does a good job,” Mr. Dowd said.

Of Mr. Ray, he said, “he is so crystal clear, the way he delivers.”

“Pat’s in charge,” Mr. Dowd said of the White House counsel. “He has the president’s confidence. I think they’ll follow Pat’s lead. They’re all very successful. But there’s not a lot of ‘ooh-rah’ — just good, solid lawyers. They have this combined talent and I’m sure it’s organized the way they want it.”

Rounding out the team will be White House deputy counsels Patrick Philbin and Michael Purpura; Florida attorney Jane Raskin, who also worked for Mr. Trump on the Mueller probe; and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Mr. Dowd believes the president’s team will present clear, well-reasoned and well-written legal briefs for the senators — an important aspect that he said is often overlooked.

Mr. Sekulow and Mr. Dowd worked together on the Mueller probe. The joke at the time was that Mueller’s investigators were “the Dream Team,” while Mr. Dowd and Mr. Sekulow referred to themselves as “the nobodies.”

Mr. Dowd sent Mr. Sekulow a message about the impeachment defense team, saying “the ‘nobodies’ rise again.”

He said the contrast between the president’s team and the House impeachment managers will be striking. Mr. Dowd said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made “a big mistake” by choosing House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff of California, saying the lawmaker comes across as untrustworthy.

“Taking apart this mess that the House created, it’s the challenge of all time,” Mr. Dowd said. “But I think these guys will do it beautifully. They appear before the high court and the courts of appeal all the time. They talk about this like you and I would talk about lunch.”

He added, “The way you learn that is advocating in the Supreme Court. The economy of language must be clear, well organized, well delivered. These guys do it as a living, and they’re very good at it.”

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