With just a week left in his term, President Donald Trump watched on television as he made history becoming the first U.S. president to be impeached twice, sources told ABC News.
Sources close to Trump say he grew “angry” as he watched some Republicans admit his culpability in the violence at the Capitol, following his previous impeachment when Republicans backed him unequivocally and stated there was no wrongdoing on his part whatsoever.
In a video statement issued following the vote, Trump made no mention of impeachment, but did condemn last week’s violence in his most forceful words yet. He did not take responsibility for his role in the events, but the video comes as the president’s lawyers have advised he could face legal jeopardy for encouraging his supporters to storm the Capitol.
Sources also describe Trump as “anxious” about his life post-White House as he’s watched multiple partners sever ties with the Trump Organization and Republican loyalists outright condemn his conduct.
Despite 10 Republicans voting in favor of impeachment and growing calls for his resignation, Trump has insisted to a small group of top aides he has no plans to resign, sources familiar with the conversations told ABC News.
This week, top aides met with Trump to discuss his options going forward. Among those options was what a potential resignation would look like. The president asked questions about the process, but ultimately said such an option was a nonstarter, in part because he doesn’t trust that Vice President Mike Pence will grant him a pardon.
He also asked about how a Senate trial would look this time around. As he did during his first impeachment, he raised the idea of testifying himself, which aides dissuaded him from pursuing.
Rudy Giuliani — who has been a frequent presence in the West Wing — is expected to take the lead in Trump’s defense, sources told ABC News. He’ll likely be joined by former Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, who gave a presentation during the last impeachment trial. Lawyer John Eastman is also expected to join Trump’s defense team.
Eastman, whose extremist positions have troubled some members of the president’s legal team recently, represented the president in the lawsuit led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that was ultimately denied by the Supreme Court and has previously pushed a racist conspiracy theory about Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.