On Thursday, House Impeachment managers offered Donald Trump the opportunity to testify at his upcoming Senate impeachment trial, but Trump and his legal team quickly rejected the invitation.
According to CNN, the move was to get Trump on record about his role surrounding the January 6 Capitol riot. Now, Democrats are left pondering whether they should compel Trump to give testimony by serving him with a subpoena.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, sent Trump’s attorney a letter on Thursday requesting that he testify before or at the impeachment trial– scheduled to start on Tuesday. Trump will need to give his testimony since he has denounced the House’s allegations that he incited the Capitol insurrection.
“Two days ago, you filed an Answer in which you denied many factual allegations set forth in the article of impeachment,” Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, wrote. “You have thus attempted to put critical facts at issue notwithstanding the clear and overwhelming evidence of your constitutional offense. 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.”
In Trump’s defense, his legal team sent back a letter saying the House’s request was taken as a sign that they could not prove the claims brought against their client.
“The use of our Constitution to bring a purported impeachment proceeding is much too serious to try to play these games,” wrote Trump’s attorneys, Bruce Castor and David Schoen.
Trump adviser Jason Miller confirmed to CNN that Trump was rejecting the invite and that he “will not testify in an unconstitutional proceeding.”
Time will tell if the House will subpoena Trump. Raskin’s letter did not mention a subpoena; instead, it said Trump’s refusal would be used against him.
“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’s letter read.
Raskin declined to comment on the issuance of a subpoena.
Trump’s testimony seems to bring an agreement among Congress that it would be a show to watch.
Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said it would be a “dog and pony show,” and Senator Chris Croons of Delaware said it would be a “terrible idea.”
“Have you met President Trump?” Coons said to reporters when asked to explain his thinking.
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and a friend of Trump said his testimony wouldn’t be “in anybody’s interest.”
“It’s just a political showboat move to do this, and they didn’t call him in the House,” Graham added.
If given, Trump’s testimony would be good for TV, but it’s unknown if it would have any impact on the outcome of the trial. Forty-five of the fifty Republican senators voted to dismiss the case last week, citing that a former president’s impeachment is unconstitutional.