Updated Feb 4, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump lawyers decline impeachment managers' request for him to testify

Trump
Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump's lawyers on Thursday declined lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.)'s request that he testify under oath before or during his Senate trial next week, calling the invitation a "public relations stunt."

Why it matters: Trump has been charged by the House with inciting the insurrection at the Capitol, but has disputed "many factual allegations set forth in the article of impeachment," Raskin notes. Testimony under oath would allow the former president to clarify "critical facts" about his role in the events of Jan. 6.

Details: "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," Raskin wrote in the letter.

  • Raskin noted that Presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton provided testimony while in office, and the Supreme Court further held last year that Trump was not immune from the legal process — meaning there is "no doubt" that he could 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 Jan. 6, Raskin concluded.

The other side: "The use of our Constitution to bring a purported impeachment proceeding is much too serious to try to play these games," Trump lawyers David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr. wrote in a response letter.

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