Donald Trump could face a difficult impeachment trial if he picks Rudy Giuliani to represent him, strategist Karl Rove says.
The former adviser to George W. Bush-turned-television pundit suggested that Trump's risk of conviction could go up if he selects his personal lawyer and former New York City mayor as his legal counsel, The Hill reported.
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Rove hinted that Trump's chances of being convicted are much higher in the second impeachment compared to the first, when Republicans were largely united behind him. This time, outgoing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly signaled that GOP members can vote their conscience, and he will not instruct them to acquit him.
Rove noted that Giuliani has been pushing a defense that Trump could not be held responsible for the attack on the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, saying that the unfounded claims of election fraud were true and that the victory was stolen from Trump. Giuliani has led Trump's legal team in contesting the election results, though the court challenges failed -- and were often ridiculed -- for lack of evidence.
If Giuliani were to defend Trump during the trial, it "raises the likelihood of more than 17 Republicans voting for conviction," Rove said.
Trump has already seen a number of members of his party turn on him in the nearly two weeks since the attack took place. A total of 10 Republicans voted to impeach him, and some senators have already signaled that they could be considering convicting him. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has laid blame on the president, saying that his being impeached was appropriate.
"On the day of the riots, President Trump's words incited violence, which led to the injury and deaths of Americans — including a Capitol Police officer — the desecration of the Capitol, and briefly interfered with the government's ability to ensure a peaceful transfer of power," Murkowski said in a statement, via Politico. "Such unlawful actions cannot go without consequence and the House has responded swiftly, and I believe, appropriately, with impeachment."
As The Hill noted, Giuliani also spoke at the rally that took place just before supporters stormed the building, reiterating the claims of election fraud and calling for "trial by combat" to determine the outcome of the race.
Like McConnell, Murkowski has not revealed how she plans to vote. It requires a two-thirds vote from the U.S. Senate to convict the president, which would require a number of GOP members to turn against the soon-to-be-former commander in chief.