Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) on Thursday sent a letter to former President Trump requesting he testify under oath “before or during” his upcoming Senate 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 in the letter.
“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,” Raskin added.
Trump’s lawyers filed a 14-page response to the House’s impeachment 80-page pre-trial legal brief on Tuesday, arguing that the Senate “lacks jurisdiction” to impeach Trump or bar him from running for office again since the trial is occurring way after he has already left office. They also pointed out the House skipped hearings and took only a week to impeach him after the attack at the Capitol.
“The constitutional provision requires that a person actually hold office to be impeached. Since the 45th President is no longer “President,” the clause ‘shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for…’ is impossible for the Senate to accomplish, and thus the current proceeding before the Senate is void ab initio as a legal nullity that runs patently contrary to the plain language of the Constitution,” Trump’s defense attorney wrote.
The filing from Trump two lead attorneys David Schoen and Bruce Castor also argued Trump didn’t engage in what the House’s article charge of “incitement of insurrection,” saying the former president “exercised his First Amendment right under the Constitution to express his belief that the election results were suspect” and denied that his remarks at the Save America Rally prior to the Capitol siege incited the mob in a deadly riot.
“It is denied that the phrase ‘if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore’ had anything to do with the action at the Capitol as it was clearly about the need to fight for election security in general, as evidenced by the recording of the speech,” his team wrote.
Raskin did not threaten to subpoena Trump if he declines to testify, but suggested that the House managers who are assigned to be the prosecutors at the Senate trial would use his refusal to “testify supports a strong adverse inference regarding your actions or inactions on Jan 6.”
“If you decline this invitation, 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,” Raskin warned, asking Trump to respond with his decision by Friday at 5pm.
The Senate trial is slated to begin on Tuesday.