Former President Donald Trump rejected a request by House impeachment managers to testify at his upcoming Senate impeachment trial, a move in which the Trump called a “political game”.
Lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin sent a letter to Trump’s legal team on Thursday to request Trump testify before or during the upcoming trial, which 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,” Raskin wrote. “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.”
Trump’s lawyers responded and argued their request was a sign the House could not prove its allegations the former President.
“The use of our Constitution to bring a purported impeachment proceeding is much too serious to try to play these games,” Trump’s attorneys, Bruce Castor and David Schoen, wrote.
Trump adviser Jason Miller confirmed that Trump was rejecting the request.
The rejection now leads to the question if Democrats will try to subpoena Trump to testify for the trial. Raskin did not comment on a possible subpoena but hinted impeachment managers would use his refusal against him.
“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,” he said.
Another looming question surrounds the idea of Democrats calling witnesses with Senators from both parties wanting a speedy trial so the Senate can move on and work on President Joe Biden’s agenda.
While Trump’s appearance would mean a drawn out trial, it appears the decision to acquit him as already been made. Last week saw 45 of the 50 Republican senators voted to support dismissing the trial, saying an impeachment trial for a former president is unconstitutional.
“Why don’t we just wait and let them make their case” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “If we were not to follow up with this we might as well remove any penalty from the Constitution.”