Trump’s Legal Defense Team Was Defined by Stumbles, Clashes and Egos


Nonetheless, the crew abruptly wanted extra attorneys. Stephen R. Castor, the highest Republican congressional lawyer who took on Democrats throughout Mr. Trump’s first impeachment, really useful his cousin, Bruce L. Castor Jr., a former prosecutor in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Schoen believed he was nonetheless going to be in control of the authorized crew. But, by Mr. Schoen’s account, when Mr. Castor and a number of different attorneys he labored with in Philadelphia — together with a personal-injury lawyer named Michael T. van der Veen — confirmed up, they took over the protection.

“Again, the president made clear that I was to take the lead and do most of the presenting,” Mr. Schoen stated. “However, when Bruce came in, he brought his partner Mike and several other lawyers to help them. He immediately began setting an agenda and assigning roles. My role was marginalized.”

Mr. Schoen stated that he mistakenly declined to push again on Mr. Castor’s plan.

“My personality is such that I simply was not comfortable asserting myself and I just accepted the agenda and figured I would just do the best job I could at whatever I was assigned,” Mr. Schoen stated. “That was my mistake and my shortcoming.”

Mr. Schoen, who stated he was in common contact with Mr. Trump, added that he made one other mistake: He didn’t inform Mr. Trump that Mr. Castor was going to have such a distinguished position within the public arguments.

Mr. Schoen was nonetheless scheduled to make the opening argument on the primary day of the trial. House managers started the continuing with a compelling presentation that included a chilling compilation of video clips of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.