The House Democrat managing the impeachment effort against Donald Trump invited the former president to testify under oath next week for Senate trial over whether or not he incited an insurrection at the Capitol in early January.
Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the lead impeachment manager, sent a one-page letter to Trump and his legal team on Thursday, noting that the House had voted to impeach him in January and that a Senate trial is set to begin on Tuesday.
“Two days ago, you filed an Answer in which you denied many factual allegations set forth in the article of impeachment. You have thus attempted to put critical facts at issue notwithstanding the clear and overwhelming evidence of your constitutional offense,” Raskin said. “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.”
The Democrat asked for Trump’s testimony — “of course including cross-examination” — by as early as Monday but not later than next Thursday. Raskin noted that former President Gerald Ford and former President Bill Clinton both provided testimony while still in office and so “there is no doubt that you can testify in these proceedings” and “whereas a sitting President might raise concerns about distraction from their official duties, that concern is obviously inapplicable here.”
The Democratic-led House voted last month to impeach Trump a historic second time on a single article of impeachment, with 10 Republicans also voting in favor of impeachment. Trump has called the impeachment a “hoax.”
Raskin said Trump declining the offer to provide testify could mean that Democrats would argue that “your refusal to testify supports a strong adverse inference regarding your actions (and inaction) on January 6, 2021.” He asked for a response by tomorrow.
Trump’s legal team, led by lawyers Bruce Castor and David Schoen, denied Trump had committed any wrongdoing and called the House Democratic impeachment effort a “violation” of the Constitution on Tuesday as it urged the Senate to toss the case or acquit him in the trial set to start next week.
“The Senate of the United States lacks jurisdiction over the 45th President because he holds no public office from which he can be removed, and the Constitution limits the authority of the Senate in cases of impeachment to removal from office as the prerequisite active remedy allowed the Senate under our Constitution,” the duo said in a reply brief, adding that the alleged lack of jurisdiction rendered the article of impeachment “moot.” The Trump legal team also contended that the article of impeachment “violates the 45th President’s right to free speech and thought guaranteed under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
Democrats argued that “in his conduct while President of the United States — and in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of the President of the United States” that Trump “engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by initiating violence against the Government of the United States.”
Jason Miller, a Trump spokesman, told Newsmax on Thursday morning that he did not expect the 45th president to testify at his own trial. But, he noted, if Trump did, he would “knock this thing out in about 15 minutes.”
President Joe Biden defeated Trump, 306-232, in the Electoral College, and the certification of electoral votes by Congress was delayed by the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6 but finished in the early hours of the following morning.
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