Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys quickly rejected a request from House impeachment managers on Thursday to testify at his upcoming Senate trial, CNN reports.
Rep. Jaime Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, sent a letter to Trump’s new lawyers on Thursday asking to interview Trump before or during the trial, which is set to kick off on Tuesday.
"Two days ago, you filed an Answer in which you denied many factual allegations set forth in the article of impeachment," Raskin 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."
Trump’s lawyers immediately rejected Raskin’s request.
"The use of our Constitution to bring a purported impeachment proceeding is much too serious to try to play these games," his lawyers said.
"The President will not testify in an unconstitutional proceeding,” Trump adviser Jason Miller told CNN.
Raskin warned in his letter that "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."
Democrats fire back:
"Today, we offered President Trump the opportunity to testify about the events of January 6 and he refused to do so. Despite his lawyers' rhetoric, any official accused of inciting armed violence against the government of the United States should welcome the chance to testify openly and honestly -- that is, if the official had a defense," Raskin said on Thursday. "We will prove at trial that President Trump's conduct was indefensible. His immediate refusal to testify speaks volumes and plainly establishes an adverse inference supporting his guilt."
Some Democrats said it was a bad idea to try to interview Trump.
"Have you met President Trump?" said Delaware Sen. Chris Coons.