Trump will not testify at impeachment trial next week

Democrats want to grill Trump about their allegation that he incited a riot, but his lawyers are declining the request.

Democrats want former President Donald Trump to testify before or during his upcoming impeachment trial [File: Gerald Herbert/AP Photo]

Former President Donald Trump will not testify next week in his impeachment trial with his attorneys on Thursday calling the request “a public relations stunt”.

“The president will not testify in an unconstitutional proceeding,” Trump adviser Jason Miller told Reuters.

“We are in receipt of your latest public relations stunt”, reads a letter from Trump’s attorneys to Representative Jamie Raskin, the Democrat leading the prosecution against Trump.

Also calling the impeachment proceedings “unconstitutional”, attorneys Bruce Castor and David Schoen, told Raskin and his fellow Democratic impeachment managers, “you cannot prove your allegations against” Trump.

The Democrats sent a letter to Trump’s attorneys earlier Thursday, asking for Trump to testify next week about his conduct before hundreds of his supporters launched a deadly attack on the Capitol.

The House last month impeached Trump on a charge of inciting insurrection in a fiery speech urging his followers to “fight” his election defeat shortly before they stormed the Capitol, fighting with police and sending lawmakers scrambling for their safety.

Trump’s lawyers this week rejected the charge, contending that he “fully and faithfully executed his duties as president” and asserting that his claims that his election defeat was the result of widespread fraud – which were baseless – were protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

“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,” Democratic lawmaker Jamie Raskin, the lead House impeachment manager, wrote in a letter to Trump and his lawyers.

“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 wrote.

For two months after losing his re-election bid to President Joe Biden, Trump loudly argued that he lost the presidential election due to rampant electoral fraud, claims that were rejected by multiple courts and state election officials.

At a rally, the former president urged supporters to fight before hundreds of them stormed the Capitol to try to stop the certification of Biden’s victory. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died during the riot.

The impeachment trial of Trump, the first US president to face such a trial twice, is expected to begin next week.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies