Former President Donald Trump turned down an offer from Democrats to testify at his upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate, blasting the offer as a “public relations stunt.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the lead impeachment manager for the House, sent Trump the offer via letter on Thursday. Trump attorneys Bruce Castor and David Schoen rejected the request hours later.
“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,” the attorneys wrote. “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 use of our Constitution to bring a purported impeachment proceeding is much too serious to try to play these games,” they added.
🚨Response to Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin🚨 pic.twitter.com/I13JBvbkmD
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) February 4, 2021
House impeachment managers sent the offer for Trump to testify after both parties filed briefs on Tuesday laying out the competing arguments to be used in the coming days. Raskin threatened Trump that refusing to testify would support a “strong adverse inference regarding your actions (and inaction) on January 6, 2021.”
As The Daily Wire reports:
The Senate impeachment trial is scheduled to start on Feb. 9. The House last month passed a single article of impeachment claiming he [Trump] incited a mob of supporters to riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Trump, through his lawyers Bruce L. Castor, Jr., and David Schoen, on Monday responded to the 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.
Dozens of Republican senators have already signaled that they believe the upcoming impeachment trial to be unconstitutional because Trump is already out of office. A conviction in the Senate requires two-thirds of the body to vote in favor. Forty-five GOP senators have already voted to dismiss the impeachment article against Trump.
As The Daily Wire reports:
Among those who voted in favor of [dismissing the article] was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who at first reportedly expressed support for Trump’s impeachment to colleagues.
Though the motion was not upheld, it suggests that the Senate will not have the requisite 67-vote supermajority to convict Trump in a second impeachment trial, in which 17 Republicans would have to vote with the Democrats.
The only five Republicans senators who voted to proceed with the trial were Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
House Democrats have argued that Trump needs to be convicted to be barred from ever holding public office again.
“President Trump’s incitement of insurrection requires his conviction and disqualification from future federal officeholding,” Democrats wrote in a trial brief. “This is not a case where elections alone are a sufficient safeguard against future abuse; it is the electoral process itself that President Trump attacked and that must be protected from him and anyone else who would seek to mimic his behavior.”