The House impeachment managers just requested former President Donald Trump testify at his upcoming Senate impeachment trial. It’s a dramatic move to try to get the former President on the record about his conduct surrounding the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol.
Lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin sent a letter to Trump’s attorney Thursday requesting that Trump testify before or during the upcoming impeachment trial, which begins on Tuesday, arguing that his testimony was needed after he disputed the House’s allegations that he incited the insurrection at the Capitol.
Raskin asks Trump to testify “as early as Monday, February 8, 2021, and not later than Thursday, February 11, 2021. We would be pleased to arrange such testimony at a mutually convenient time and place.”
The House’s letter did not threaten to subpoena Trump if he does not appear voluntarily, though Raskin suggested the managers would use his refusal against him.
“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 (and inaction) on January 6, 2021,” Raskin continues.
Some Senate Democrats have said they are open to issuing a subpoena to Trump if House managers want to go that route.
“If the House managers are insistent that a subpoena for him is necessary, their view is entitled to a lot of weight,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal told CNN.
Some context: In a 14-page response to the House’s impeachment effort on Tuesday, Trump’s lawyers argued that the Senate cannot vote to impeach Trump when he no longer holds office as well as that Trump’s speech about the election and before the Jan. 6 riots did not cause the riots and was protected by the First Amendment.
The House impeachment managers, in their brief filed Tuesday, pushed back directly on that point, which Senate Republicans have coalesced around as a reason to acquit Trump, arguing there is ample history and precedent to hold a trial and convict Trump, who was impeached by the House while still in office.