House impeachment managers are reportedly pressuring former President Donald Trump to testify in person at his Senate trial next week, threatening that his “refusal to testify supports a strong adverse inference regarding your actions.”
“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 Jan. 6, 2021,” Democratic lawmaker Jamie Raskin, the lead House impeachment manager, wrote in a letter to Trump and his attorneys, according to the New York Post.
“If you decline the invitation, we reserve any and all rights, including the right to establish at trial that your refusal to testify supports a strong adverse inference regarding your actions (and inaction) on January 6, 2021.” the letter says.
The Senate impeachment trial is scheduled to start on Feb. 9. The House last month passed a single article of impeachment claiming he incited a mob of supporters to riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Attorneys for Trump on Thursday dismissed the demand that the former president testify under oath.
“We are in receipt of your latest public relations stunt. As you certainly know, there is no such thing as a negative inference in this unconstitutional proceeding,” attorneys Bruce Castor and David Schoen wrote to Raskin. “Your letter only confirms what is known to everyone: you cannot prove your allegations against the 45th President of the United States, who is now a private citizen,” the letter continued. “The use of our Constitution to bring a purported impeachment proceeding is much too serious to play these games.”
Earlier in the week, the lawyers responded to the impeachment article.
“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 lawyers wrote.
Here’s the full letter from Raskin:
Dear President Trump,
As you are aware, the United States House of Representatives has approved an article of impeachment against you for incitement of insurrection. See H. Res. 24. The Senate trial for this article of impeachment will begin on Tuesday, February 9, 2021. See S. Res. 16.
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. 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. We would propose that you provide your testimony (of course including cross-examination) as early as Monday, February 8, 2021, and not later than Thursday, February 11, 2021. We would be pleased to arrange such testimony at a mutually convenient time and place.
Presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton both provided testimony while in office—and the Supreme Court held just last year that you were not immune from legal process while serving as President—so there is no doubt that you can testify in these proceedings. Indeed, whereas a sitting President might raise concerns about distraction from their official duties, that concern is obviously inapplicable here. We therefore anticipate your availability to testify.
If you decline this invitation, we reserve any and all rights, including the right to establish at trial that your refusal to testify supports a strong adverse inference regarding your actions (and inaction) on January 6, 2021.
I would request that you respond to this letter by no later than Friday, February 5, 2021 at 5pm. I look forward to your response and to your testimony.
Very truly yours,
Lead Impeachment Manager