The Senate’s second impeachment trial took a turn no one saw coming.
Both sides were sent scrambling.
And Donald Trump had a jaw-dropping response to the Democrats’ impeachment ultimatum.
Days before the Senate was set to begin the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump the House Democrat impeachment managers sprung a surprise.
Lead impeachment manager Maryland Democrat Jamie Raskin produced a letter requesting Donald Trump testify at or before the trial.
“We would propose that you provide your testimony (of course including cross-examination) as early as Monday, February 8, 2021, and not later than Thursday, February 11, 2021. We would be pleased to arrange such testimony at a mutually convenient time and place,” Raskin’s letter read.
Raskin warned Trump that if he did not agree to testify about his conduct on January 6, Democrats would use that refusal as evidence that Donald Trump was essentially admitting his own guilt on the charges laid out in the article of impeachment.
“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 Jan. 6,” Raskin’s letter continued.
Trump’s lawyers David Schoen and Bruce Castor immediately responded by rejecting the Democrats’ request out of hand.
“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,” Trump’s lawyers shot back in a letter of their own.
“The use of our Constitution to bring a purported impeachment proceeding is much too serious to try to play these games,” they added.
Democrats showed their hand on this matter by not threatening to subpoena Trump to compel his testimony at the Senate trial.
Even Democrat Senators like Chris Coons and Joe Manchin rejected the idea of calling Trump as a witness out of hand.
The lack of “bite”—in the form of a subpoena threat—behind the Democrats’ request meant Trump’s lawyers were correct when they laughed this request off as a stunt.
Democrats, as well as Republicans, know the outcome of this Senate trial has already been decided.
Forty-five Republican senators agreed with Trump’s lawyers that a second impeachment trial was unconstitutional and voted to dismiss the case.
Democrats need to look for every angle possible to shift the narrative away from the simple reality that this partisan and sham impeachment is a complete waste of time.
And the first pile of slop they fired against the wall was a request that Donald Trump testify.
Democrats hoped that either Trump would find the idea of him appearing on television for the most high-stakes cross-examination in American political history too irresistible to pass up or Democrats and their media allies could use Trump’s refusal to testify as an admission of guilt.
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