House Democratic impeachment managers led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) sent a letter to Trump calling on him to testify at his second impeachment trial and said that if he doesn’t, they would use it against him during the event—a similar tactic and argument they used during the first impeachment trial.
“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 wrote to Trump, adding, “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.”
But Trump lawyer David Schoen, in response, claimed Raskin was attempting a “public relations stunt” by sending the letter to the former president.
“There is no such thing as negative inference in this unconstitutional proceeding,” he added. “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.”
In suggesting that Trump will not attend the trial to testify, Schoen argued that Raskin’s “use of our Constitution to bring a purported impeachment proceeding is much too serious to try to play these games.”
The Democratic-controlled House voted last month to impeach Trump on a single article of impeachment, claiming he incited an insurrection on Jan. 6.
Trump’s lawyers have indicated that they will argue that the impeachment trial is unconstitutional because Trump has left office and that his act of speaking to a crowd on Jan. 6 was protected under the First Amendment.
Jason Miller, part of Trump’s team, told Newsmax on Thursday that he did not expect him to testify.
However, if Trump did, the former president would “knock this thing out in about 15 minutes,” said Miller.
When Trump addressed the “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6 during the Joint Session of Congress, he wanted the protesters to demonstrate peacefully, he added.
“You would have to be so thick in the head to have watched President Trump over the last five years and not realize that he is the most pro-law and order president ever and that he deplores any sort of mob violence,” he said. Miller furthermore said that a timeline of the events on Jan. 6 dispute that Trump’s speech incited a mob.
“We’ve seen public reports from the police and FBI and all sorts of other outlets that much of this planning was done well in advance,” he said on the network.
The Senate impeachment trial is scheduled to start the week of Feb. 8. House Democrats wrote that the former president should respond to the letter by Friday, Feb. 5.
Last week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Democrats won’t net a conviction after 45 GOP senators voted against holding the trial in January. At least 17 Republicans would have to join the Democratic caucus.