WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats on Thursday asked Donald Trump to testify under oath for his Senate impeachment trial, challenging him to respond to their charge that he incited a violent mob to storm the Capitol. A Trump adviser said the former president won’t testify.
Although Democrats might not have the power to force Trump’s testimony, the request from House impeachment managers is part of their overall effort to put the violent events of Jan. 6 on the record for history and hold him accountable for his words. Democrats will look to use his refusal to testify against him as they argue that the ex-president has avoided responsibility for his actions.
Hours after the Democrats’ request was revealed, Trump adviser Jason Miller dismissed the trial as “an unconstitutional proceeding” and said the former president would not testify. Separately, Trump’s lawyers denounced the request as a “public relations stunt.”
Democrats have said a trial is necessary to provide a final measure of accountability for the attack. If Trump is convicted, the Senate could hold a second vote to disqualify him from seeking office again.
The back-and-forth continued Thursday evening when Raskin said Trump’s refusal to testify “speaks volumes and plainly establishes an adverse inference supporting his guilt.”
“Any official accused of inciting armed violence against the government of the United States should welcome the chance to testify openly and honestly — that is, if the official had a defense,” he said in a statement.
Original Story: House Dems ask Trump to testify under oath in Senate trial
THURSDAY 2/4/2021 1:12 p.m.
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats on Thursday asked Donald Trump to testify under oath for his Senate impeachment trial, saying the former president must explain why he and his lawyers have disputed key factual allegations at the center of the case.
The request from House impeachment managers make clear their intent to present an aggressive case against the former president even though he has left the White House. A Trump adviser did not immediately return a message seeking comment about the managers’ letter.
The Senate impeachment trial starts Feb. 9. Trump is charged with inciting a mob of supporters that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.
In the letter, Rep Jamie Raskin, one of the impeachment managers, asked that Trump provide testimony “either before or during the Senate impeachment trial,” and under cross examination, about his conduct on Jan. 6, as early as Monday and not later than next Thursday, Feb. 11.
Raskin said that Trump questioned critical facts in the case “notwithstanding the clear and overwhelming evidence of your constitutional offense.”
“In light of your disputing these factual allegations, I write to invite you to provide testimony under oath, either before or during the Senate impeachment trial, concerning your conduct on January 6, 2021,” Raskin wrote.
Raskin wrote that if Trump refuses to testify, the managers will use his refusal against him in the trial – a similar argument put forth by House Democrats in last year’s impeachment trial, when many Trump officials ignored subpoenas.
“Indeed, whereas a sitting president might raise concerns about distraction from their official duties, that concern is obviously inapplicable here,” Raskin wrote.