Democrats call Trump to testify in upcoming impeachment trial

KATHERINE FAULDERS and BENJAMIN SIEGEL
·2 min read

House impeachment managers have asked former President Donald Trump to testify under oath in his upcoming impeachment trial about his conduct on Jan. 6, according to a letter sent by lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin.

Raskin suggested the invitation was prompted by the recent filing from Trump's legal team in which they denied the former president made false statements about the election results or sought to disrupt the certification of the results.

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"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's defense attorneys.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks before boarding Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Jan. 20, 2021. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP, FILE)
PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks before boarding Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Jan. 20, 2021. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP, FILE)

Trump's legal team responded with a letter and rejected the idea of the former president appearing.

In the short response, Trump's attorneys called the request a "public relations stunt."

“The use of our Constitution to bring a purported impeachment proceeding is much too serious to play these games," wrote Trump attorneys Bruce Castor and David Schoen.

While the letter did not answer directly the question of whether Trump will testify, Trump spokesman Jason Miller told ABC News' Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl, “The president will not testify in an unconstitutional proceeding.”

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Democrats had been weighing for weeks whether to seek Trump's testimony in his second impeachment trial, multiple sources familiar with the matter told ABC News -- a move that could force the 45th president to defend his comments on Jan. 6 but also spark a legal fight that could prolong the trial.

Some Democrats are seeking a speedy trial -- pointing to the fact that the senators serving as jurists experienced the Capitol riot themselves and the need to focus the Senate on President Joe Biden's agenda.

But some impeachment managers have argued privately that offering Trump an opportunity to testify would undercut any efforts to discredit proceedings and that any false statements could further undermine his defense.

Trump has discussed submitting a written statement, sources close to him said. It's unclear if the rules of the trial would allow the House managers to issue a subpoena to compel his testimony, or whether they would even seek one.

Democrats call Trump to testify in upcoming impeachment trial originally appeared on abcnews.go.com