Will Trump testify at his second impeachment trial?
The former President has been called to give evidence for the Senate trial into 'incitement of insurrection' for his role in the Capitol Hill riots.
A spokesperson for Donald Trump has confirmed that the former President will not be testifying in his upcoming impeachment trial. The refusal comes after a direct request from House Democrats for No. 45 to be involved in the trial, which relates to his involvement in the Capitol Hill riots.
The statement was delivered by Jason Miller, Trump’s spokesperson, who said the 74-year-old “will not testify in an unconstitutional proceeding.” He went on to describe the trial as a “public relations stunt”, following the line maintained by Trump's defence team throughout proceedings.
Trump called to testify by House Democrats in a letter
On Thursday Jamie Raskin, the lead House impeachment manager who will oversee proceedings in the Senate, wrote to Trump requesting that he testify either before or during the trial. Specifically, they ask the former President to explain why he and his legal team have disputed factual allegations that will be central to the impeachment case.
The letter, which was also made public, reads: “You denied many factual allegations set forth in the article of impeachment. You have thus attempted to put critical facts at issue.”
Raskin continued by accusing Trump of questioning key elements of the case against him, ignoring the “clear and overwhelming evidence of your constitutional offense”. He also warned that failure to appear would allow the Democrats to “establish at trial that your refusal to testify supports a strong adverse inference regarding your actions (and inaction) on January 6, 2021.”
But despite that strongly-worded request on Thursday Trump continues to insist that the trial is unlawful, and that he has no intention of attending. The response from Trump’s team came swiftly as they made clear later that same day that the former President would not be returning to Washington for his trial.
When will the second Trump impeachment trial begin?
In his final days in office Trump became the first president in US history to be impeached twice, for his role in inciting the crowd that stormed the Houses of Congress on 6 January 2021. The heinous acts of violence which left five people dead were immediately the subject of strong criticism by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and the House vote on impeachment was the most bipartisan in history.
The case now moves to the Uper House so Senators can decide whether he is guilty of the charges put against him. He becomes the first President to be put to trial for an impeachable offence after he has left office, but lawmakers deemed his crimes so great that they could not be ignored.
The trial will begin on Tuesday 9 February as all 100 members of the Senate will meet in the chamber that was set upon by pro-Trump rioters little over a month earlier. Despite ten House Republicans voting in favour of impeachment, it is not thought that Trump will be convicted in the Senate.