Raskin’s letter quickly begins by pointing out that Trump has already been indicted (second time), is on trial in the Senate (second time), and has sent a response to the House impeachment managers. Raskin carefully skips only the first three quarters of that answer – in this part, Trump’s attorney tries to claim that impeachment after a term is unconstitutional – and goes back to the part of the answer that Trump has clearly dictated himself. The part where Trump denies he ever lied and claims nobody can really say for sure that he didn’t win.
Two days ago you submitted a response denying many of the factual allegations made in impeachment proceedings. You have therefore tried to question critical facts despite the clear and overwhelming evidence of your constitutional offense. In view of your dispute with these allegations of fact, I would like to invite you to testify under oath about your conduct on January 6, 2021 before or during the impeachment proceedings in the Senate.
Raskin points out that both Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton testified under oath during their tenure. And for an added touch on Trump’s bronze-plated nose, Raskin adds, “While a seated president might raise concerns about being distracted from his official duties, that concern is clearly not applicable here.” In other words, since you’re not doing anything anyway …
It would be easy to read the entire letter as an extended joke. Eventually, Trump’s legal team will surely make it clear to him that it would be a bad thing to sit down on Jan. 6 to defend his actions. That would be a day Trump started partying while Rudy Giuliani called for “trial by struggle”, took the stage to re-tell his supporters that the election had been stolen and he would march with them to the Capitol, and returned to the White House to wonder why no one else was upset about the uprising, not responding to requests for military support, and telling the terrorists occupying the Capitol, “we love you” and “you are very special. “Trump raising his hand to testify would be a miserably misguided idea.
On the other hand, like everyone else, Raskin knows Donald Trump too well. It’s exactly what could infuriate Trump and startle his legal team to throw the glove down like that, along with a few obvious digs.
If you decline this invitation, we reserve all rights, including the right to determine in court that your refusal to testify had a major negative impact on your actions (and inaction) on January 6, 2021
In other words, if you’re too big a chicken to show up, we know you’re a liar.
The chances that Trump will take up the challenge are astronomical. But Raskin deserves a round of applause for throwing this out of here. The suggestion here is exactly the kind of ploy that a third-class bully like Trump would understand in only one way – Democrats call him a coward and a liar.
He is unlikely to put his back in a witness chair. But who knows, it could be.
Mark Sumner· ·
Trump’s chief attorneys have replied to Raskin’s letter (at that moment).
“We’re getting your latest PR stunt,” write Bruce Castor and David Schoen. Then they happily discover that there cannot be any negative conclusions at the trial and that the trial is unconstitutional before it ends with “this use of our Constitution to initiate an alleged impeachment is far too serious to play these games” .
What they don’t say is whether or not Trump saw the letter.