Breaking With G.O.P., Top Conservative Lawyer Says Trump Can Stand Trial

But Mr. Cooper appeared to be working to vary minds. He wrote in his opinion piece that within the brief time because the vote, authorized specialists’ understanding of the difficulty had developed and “exposed the serious weakness of Mr. Paul’s analysis.”

“The senators who supported Mr. Paul’s motion,” he wrote, “should reconsider their view and judge the former president’s misconduct on the merits.”

The query of constitutionality may come to a head rapidly when the trial opens on Tuesday. Though Senate leaders have been nonetheless debating the exact construction of the trial, prosecutors and Mr. Trump’s protection crew have been making ready for the chance that Mr. Paul or one other senator may drive a second vote on the query on the opening day, earlier than both facet will get into their full displays.

Mr. Cooper has a deep and lengthy historical past within the conservative authorized motion. He grew up in Alabama, and regardless of not attending an Ivy League regulation college, landed a clerkship for Justice William H. Rehnquist in 1978 earlier than he turned the chief justice, and at a time when Justice Rehnquist was thought-about essentially the most conservative member of the court docket.

Mr. Cooper went on to grow to be the top of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in the course of the Reagan administration, writing a number of extremely conservative and controversial interpretations of the regulation, together with one about whether or not employers may decline to rent somebody who could have AIDS.

As a personal lawyer, he has defended points like college prayer and was an energetic member within the Federalist Society. In 2010, when the Republican National Lawyers Association named him the Republican lawyer of the yr, there have been three audio system for Mr. Cooper: Mr. Bolton; the top of the N.R.A., Wayne LaPierre; and Ed Meese, an legal professional normal underneath Ronald Reagan who was thought-about among the many most conservative within the division’s historical past.

In the early days of the Trump administration, Mr. Cooper — who’s longtime pals with Mr. Sessions — was thought-about to be the solicitor normal. But Mr. Cooper remained in non-public apply, turning into the lawyer for Mr. Sessions as he was enmeshed in controversy associated to the Russia investigation. In the second half of the Trump presidency, Mr. Cooper represented Mr. Bolton and his deputy, Charles Kupperman, within the first impeachment trial of Mr. Trump.

Mr. Cooper has continued to characterize Mr. Bolton because the Justice Department has sued him to recoup cash he produced from a damning ebook he revealed about Mr. Trump.

Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting.

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