There's a new and stunning twist in the federal indictment of Donald Trump for retaining and concealing classified national security documents: Two of Donald Trump's most prominent attorneys resigned this morning, and it's not immediately clear whether they resigned voluntarily or were pushed out.
Just last night attorney James Trusty, a former federal prosecutor, appeared on CNN to grouse about the indictment, calling it "crossing the Rubicon" for federal prosecutors. Now Trusty and fellow attorney John Rowley are out—hard out, as in they won't be working another day.
Trusty and Rowley were key members of Trump's defense team, and both were inside Justice Department headquarters just this Monday to complain to special counsel Jack Smith about alleged abuses by his investigators. Their departure comes on the heels of the resignation of Trump attorney Tim Parlatore and in the wake of reports that Trump's large legal team is in absolute chaos due to paranoia and infighting.
Trump's assertion that he will now be represented by Todd Blanche and "a firm to be named later" and that he "will be announcing additional lawyers in the coming days" suggests that Trusty and Rowley’s departure came as a complete surprise to the Trump team; it will be astonishing to see the onetime president walk into a Miami courthouse on Tuesday with a brand-new defense team assigned to the case mere days beforehand. We can expect future leaks to clarify just what happened here, but the Trump team getting blindsided by federal charges dropping in Miami, rather than Washington, D.C., isn't the best excuse for losing two of their top lawyers within 24 hours of the indictment.
As for the reason Trump may be looking for "a firm to be named later" to assist in his Florida-based defense, The Daily Beast reported last month that close Trump legal adviser Boris Epshteyn had already "pissed off all the Florida lawyers. People are dropping like flies." We can only imagine which new Florida law firm might be both fame-seeking and thickheaded enough to put themselves in the middle of that.
Why Donald Trump was indicted
Trump keeps losing lawyers and further screwing himself
Trump's lawyer quits just as shoe drops in classified documents case
This week on "The Downballot," we're joined by guest host Joe Sudbay and law professor Quinn Yeargain for a deep dive into major political developments in three states. First up is Arizona, where a key GOP retirement on the Board of Supervisors in jumbo Maricopa County gives Democrats an excellent chance to win their first majority since the 1960s. Then it's on to Arkansas, where citizens are working to overturn a Republican bill that purports to ban "critical race theory" in public schools by qualifying a referendum for the ballot. Finally, we hit Michigan, where Democrats just advanced a measure to have the state add its Electoral College votes to a multistate compact that would elect the president by the national popular vote.