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Trump legal team made donations to impeachment jurors

Graig Graziosi
Robert Ray, an attorney for Donald Trump, speaks during the Senate impeachment trial: AP

Members of Donald Trump’s impeachment defence team donated money to some of the senators who will ultimately decide the president’s fate.

According to a report released by the Center for Responsive Politics on Monday, former independent counsels Ken Starr and Robert Ray both made substantial campaign contributions to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last year prior to joining Mr Trump’s team.

Mr Starr gave $2,800 to Mr McConnell in July 2019. In September, shortly after the impeachment inquiry began in the House, Mr Ray gave Mr McConnell the maximum allowable contribution for a primary or general election, $5,600.

In addition, in 2017 Mr Starr also gave $2,700 to Senator Lindsey Graham, an unbending ally to Mr Trump throughout his presidency.

One of Mr Trump’s personal attorneys, Jay Sekulow, has made donations to Republican senators for the past decade, including Senators John Thune and Ted Cruz, and he gave thousands to the 2012 presidential campaign of Mitt Romney.

Mr Romney has managed to frustrate fellow Republicans in the Senate by arguing that he’d like to call witnesses to testify during the impeachment trial. He has found some common ground with Mr Graham, however, as both have expressed interest in seeing the contents of former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s book manuscript, which may contain information relevant to the trial.

Mr Trump himself is also fundraising to support senators who will ultimately rule on his impeachment. In November, he established a joint fundraising committee to assist Senator David Perdue in his re-election campaign.

Not all of Mr Trump’s supporters are Republicans, however. Alan Dershowitz, a frequent donor to Democrats who has defended Mike Tyson, Jim Bakker and had ties to Jeffrey Epstein, has been an outspoken supporter of the president.

Mr Starr and Mr Ray both investigated President Bill Clinton around the time of his impeachment trial. Despite their roles in that case, both men have been outspoken critics of impeachment in the case of Mr Trump.

“In this particular juncture in America’s history, the Senate is being called to sit as the high court of impeachment all too frequently,” Mr Starr said. “Indeed, we are living in what I think can aptly be described as the age of impeachment.”

Though Mr Starr has stepped up to defend the president, Mr Trump hasn’t always held his newfound ally in high esteem.

“I think Ken Starr is a lunatic. I really think that Ken Starr is a disaster,” Trump said in an interview on NBC’s Today show during the time of Mr Clinton’s impeachment. The president went on to call him a "total wacko".

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