Washington – The lawyers representing President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial against the Senate said Thursday he would not testify next week and rejected House Democrats’ demands for his testimony as a “public relations stunt”.
Congressman Jamie Raskin, a Maryland Democrat and chief impeachment head of the House of Representatives, sent a letter to Mr Trump and his attorneys on Thursday asking him to answer under oath about his conduct on Jan. 6, as a lot of his Supporters of the US Capitol stormed buildings.
Raskin suggested that Mr. Trump could give his testimony as early as Monday, February 8th and no later than Thursday, February 11th, which would include cross-examination.
“Presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton both gave testimony in office – and the Supreme Court ruled just last year that you were not immune to trial during your tenure as president – so there is no doubt that you can testify in those proceedings,” said Presidents Raskin wrote. “While a seated president may raise concerns about being distracted from his official duties, that concern is obviously not applicable here. We therefore assume that you can testify. “
Raskin said that if Mr. Trump refuses to testify, the House impeachment executives reserve “all rights, including the right to see in court that your refusal to testify leads to a strong negative conclusion regarding your actions (and inaction) on January 6th, 2021. ”
Mr. Trump’s attorneys Bruce Castor and David Schoen called Raskin’s motion a “PR stunt” in a response later that day.
“As I am sure you know, there is no negative conclusion in this unconstitutional process,” they wrote in response to Raskin. “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 individual. Using our constitution to initiate an alleged impeachment is far too serious to attempt to play these games. “
The Senate will meet as an impeachment court on February 9 to hear the case against Mr. Trump. The House approved a single impeachment article indicting him for incitement to riot last month.
In a response to the article filed this week, Mr Trump’s lawyers argued that the president was exercising his First Amendment rights in making unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud and not inciting violence when he made his own Urged followers to “fight like hell”. during a rally before the attack on the Capitol. They also argue that the impeachment process is unconstitutional as the Senate cannot bring a president to justice who is no longer in office.
Raskin said the president’s response to the article “contested many of the factual allegations set out in the impeachment article. You have therefore tried to question critical facts despite the clear and overwhelming evidence of your constitutional offense. “
A senior Democrat impeachment aide said the managers tried to ask Mr. Trump about several allegations in his pretrial filing, including his warning: “If you don’t fight like hell, you won’t have one more country”, it was about fighting for election security in general and never intending to disrupt the counting of votes. They also wanted Mr. Trump to respond to his claim that he “has done admirably in his role as President and has always done what he believed was the good of the people.”
While the rioters broke into the Capitol and gained access to the Senate shortly after members were evacuated, Mr Trump remained largely silent despite being told to call for an end to the violence. He later posted a video on Twitter asking the mob to “go home,” but said, “We love you, you’re special.” It wasn’t until more than 24 hours after the attack that he condemned the violence.
In their own pretrial filing, the nine House impeachment executives said Mr. Trump was “solely responsible” for the January 6 attack and thwarted Republican claims that the Senate had no power to hold a lawsuit against a former president.
“President Trump’s efforts to expand power by inciting violence against Congress were a grave violation of the oath he swore,” they wrote. “If provoking an insurgent uprising against a joint congressional session after losing an election is not a criminal offense, it is difficult to imagine what it would be. The Framers themselves would not have hesitated to condemn these facts. “
After the January 6 attack, in which the pro-Trump mob attempted to prevent Congress from counting states’ votes and re-establishing President Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election, the House moved quickly to get Mr Trump to punish for his role.
Democrats argue the president instigated the violence in the Capitol with his fiery rhetoric in the weeks following the November 3 election and on the day of the riot. Ten Republicans voted against Mr Trump in their historic vote with House Democrats, making him the first president to be charged twice.