It's happening: former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial officially began on Feb. 9, and lawmakers in the Senate will deliberate on whether or not to convict Trump for alleged incitement of insurrection regarding the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. In the midst of all this, many Americans may be wondering: Will Trump testify in his second impeachment trial? It looks like he's staying away.
On Jan. 13, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, charging him with "incitement of insurrection" against the U.S. government, per the article of impeachment. Representatives for Trump did not previously respond to Elite Daily's request for comment on the impeachment or Trump's role regarding the riot. On Feb. 4, the House impeachment managers sent a letter directly to Trump, requesting he testify under oath either before or during his Senate trial. The letter, written by Rep. Jamie Raskin, offered the former president the chance to speak on his own behalf. "I write to invite you to provide testimony under oath ... concerning your conduct on January 6, 2021," Raskin wrote. He offered the opportunity to testify as early as Feb. 8, or as late as Feb. 11. Trump's legal team rejected the invitation on the very same day it was sent.
Trump's attorneys, Bruce Castor and David Schoen, responded on Feb. 4 with a short, three-paragraph letter.
"Your letter only confirms what is known to everyone: you cannot prove your allegations against the 45th President of the United States, who is now a private citizen," they wrote. "The use of our Constitution to bring a purported impeachment proceeding is much too serious to try to play these games," they added, dismissing the testimony request as a "public relations stunt" by Raskin. As of Feb. 10, there were no public plans for Trump to testify.
While House impeachment managers could still try to compel Trump to take the stand by issuing him a subpoena, this isn't likely. "Not only would it start a [legal] battle, it would really take too long," Rikki Klieman, CBS News legal expert and analyst, told CBS News on Feb. 5.
However, the House impeachment managers could interpret Trump's refusal to testify as a sign of guilt. Raskin's Feb. 4 letter to Trump mentions this: "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," the letter explains.
Nothing about Trump's presidency was typical, and he continues to keep America on its toes. But at least for now, he also appears to be keeping silent.