Donald Trump Refuses To Testify At His Senate Impeachment Trial
The invite was sent on Thursday (4 February) by lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin.
Rep Raskin's letter argued that Mr Trump's testimony is needed since the former president has disputed the House's allegations that he incited the insurrection at the Capitol on 6 January.
Rep. Raskin's letter said: "You have thus attempted to put critical facts at issue notwithstanding the clear and overwhelming evidence of your constitutional offence.
"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."
The US House of Representatives voted to impeach former president, Mr Trump, last month for inciting the insurrection at the Capitol which resulted in five deaths.
Responding on the same day with another letter, Trump's attorneys, Bruce Castor and David Schoen wrote: "The use of our Constitution to bring a purported impeachment proceeding is much too serious to try to play these games."
Mr Trump's adviser Jason Miller told CNN: "The President will not testify in an unconstitutional proceeding."
Following Mr Trump's rejection, the US media has been discussing if the Democrats will force him to testify.
So far, however, there has been no official mention of a subpoena - which could be authorised by a majority vote from the Senate during the trial, AP reports.
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Rep Raskin, a Democrat, has declined to comment on this particular topic.
His letter, however, said: "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."
Following Trump's refusal to testify, Rep Raskin added: "Today, we offered President Trump the opportunity to testify about the events of January 6 and he refused to do so.
"Despite his lawyers' rhetoric, any official accused of inciting armed violence against the government of the United States should welcome the chance to testify openly and honestly - that is, if the official had a defence.
"We will prove at trial that President Trump's conduct was indefensible. His immediate refusal to testify speaks volumes and plainly establishes an adverse inference supporting his guilt."
On his side, Mr Trump's solicitors argued in a legal brief on Tuesday (2 February) that the Senate impeachment trial was unconstitutional because Trump was no longer president.
Mr Trump's solicitors also said Trump did not incite the rioters, that his speech pre-riot was protected by the First Amendment and that Trump's false claims about the election could not be proven inaccurate.
The House of Representatives voted to impeach Mr Trump last month. His second impeachment trial, now at the Senate, starts on the 9 February.
Words: Cilene Tanaka
Featured Image Credit: PA
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