House Democrats on Thursday asked Donald Trump to testify under oath for his Senate impeachment trial, saying the former president must explain why he and his lawyers have disputed key factual allegations at the centre of the case.
The request from House impeachment managers make clear their intent to present an aggressive case against the former president even though he has left the White House. A Trump adviser did not immediately return a message seeking comment about the managers' letter.
The Senate impeachment trial starts Feb. 9. Trump is charged with inciting a mob of supporters that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.
In the letter, Rep Jamie Raskin, one of the impeachment managers, asked that Trump provide testimony “either before or during the Senate impeachment trial,” and under cross examination, about his conduct on Jan. 6, as early as Monday and not later than next Thursday, Feb. 11.
Raskin said that Trump questioned critical facts in the case “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,” Raskin wrote.
Raskin wrote that if Trump refuses to testify, the managers will use his refusal against him in the trial – a similar argument put forth by House Democrats in last year's impeachment trial, when many Trump officials ignored subpoenas.
"Indeed, whereas a sitting president might raise concerns about distraction from their official duties, that concern is obviously inapplicable here,” Raskin wrote.