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House Democrats ask Trump to testify for impeachment trial

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Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys dismissed the request as a ‘public relations stunt.’ Home managers say they could use the refusal in opposition to him.

WASHINGTON — Home Democrats on Thursday requested Donald Trump to testify beneath oath for his Senate impeachment trial, difficult him to reply to their cost that he incited a violent mob to storm the Capitol. A Trump adviser stated the previous president will not testify.

The request in a letter from Home impeachment managers doesn’t require Trump to seem — although the Senate may later power a subpoena — but it surely does warn that any refusal to testify may very well be used at trial to help arguments for a conviction. The request makes clear Democrats’ dedication to current an aggressive case in opposition to him although he has left the White Home.

Hours after the letter was launched, Trump adviser Jason Miller stated that “the president is not going to testify in an unconstitutional continuing.” Individually, Trump’s attorneys dismissed the request as a “public relations stunt.”

The impeachment trial begins Feb. 9. Trump, the primary president to be impeached twice, is charged with inciting an revolt on Jan. 6, when a mob of his supporters broke into the Capitol to interrupt the electoral vote depend. 5 folks died. Earlier than the riot, Trump had informed his supporters to “combat like hell” to overturn his election defeat.

Democrats have stated a trial is important to offer a closing measure of accountability for the assault. If Trump is convicted, the Senate may maintain a second vote to disqualify him from searching for workplace once more.

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Within the letter, Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, one of many impeachment managers, requested that Trump clarify why he and his attorneys have disputed key factual allegations on the heart of their cost. He requested that Trump present testimony about his conduct “both earlier than or in the course of the Senate impeachment trial,” and beneath cross-examination, as early as Monday, Feb. 8, and never later than Thursday, Feb. 11.

The request from Raskin cites the phrases of Trump’s personal attorneys, who in a authorized temporary earlier this week not solely denied that Trump had incited the riot, but additionally asserted that he had “carried out admirably in his position as president, always doing what he thought was in the very best pursuits of the American folks.”

With that argument, Raskin stated, Trump had questioned crucial info within the case “however the clear and overwhelming proof of your constitutional offense.” He stated Trump ought to be capable to testify now that he’s now not president.

Trump attorneys Bruce Castor and David Schoen responded hours later that the letter proves that Democrats “can’t show your allegations” and that an impeachment trial is just too severe “to attempt to play these video games.”

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The attorneys, and plenty of Senate Republicans, have argued that the trial is unconstitutional as a result of Trump is now not in workplace, although he was impeached whereas he was nonetheless president. In a take a look at vote within the Senate final week, 45 Republicans voted for an effort to dismiss the trial on these grounds.

Democrats say the Republicans are arguing course of as a result of they cannot defend the previous president’s actions, they usually level to the various authorized students who’ve stated the trial is on agency constitutional floor.

Raskin stated within the letter that if Trump refuses to seem, the managers will use his refusal in opposition to him within the trial — an analogous argument put forth by Home Democrats in final yr’s impeachment trial, when many Trump officers ignored subpoenas. Trump was finally acquitted of two expenses that he abused his presidential powers by pressuring the Ukrainian authorities to analyze now-President Joe Biden.

The impeachment managers should not have the authority to subpoena witnesses now for the reason that Home has already voted to question him. The Senate may vote to subpoena Trump, or another witnesses, on a easy majority vote in the course of the trial.

On Thursday, senators in each events made it clear they’d be reluctant to take action.

Shortly after Raskin’s letter was made public, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., stated it might be a “horrible concept” for Trump to testify. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., stated Trump’s statements earlier than and after the assault on the Capitol “are probably the most highly effective proof. His personal phrases incriminate him. They present his responsible intent.”

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South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, one in every of Trump’s closest GOP allies, stated he thinks the letter is a “political ploy” and notes that Democrats didn’t invite or subpoena Trump to testify earlier than the Home voted to question him on Jan. 13.

Requested if he thinks Trump will testify, Graham stated it might be a “unhealthy concept.”

“I don’t suppose that may be in anyone’s curiosity,” he stated.

Related Press author Lisa Mascaro in Washington contributed to this report.

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