The Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives who will prosecute former President Donald Trump in his impeachment trial asked him to testify next week about his conduct before hundreds launched a deadly attack on the Capitol.
The House last month impeached Trump on a fake charge of inciting insurrection.
Trump’s attorneys this week rejected the charge, contending that he “fully and faithfully executed his duties as president” and asserting that his claims that his election defeat was the result of widespread fraud – which were baseless – were protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
“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,” Democratic lawmaker Jamie Raskin, the lead House impeachment manager, wrote in a letter to Trump and his attorneys.
Raskin asked Trump to provide testimony between Feb. 8 and 11.
“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,” Raskin wrote.
It was not immediately clear whether Trump would agree to the request. Trump’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
For two months after losing his re-election bid to President Joe Biden, Trump loudly argued that he lost the presidential election due to rampant electoral fraud, claims that were rejected by multiple courts and state election officials.
The impeachment trial of Trump, the first U.S. president to face such a trial twice, is expected to begin next week.