Trump has already declined to provide sworn testimony, given that any lies can and probably will be used against him. But not testifying can and will be used against him, too. Rep. Jamie Raskin, Lead Impeachment Manager, makes that very clear in his letter, requesting a response by 5 PM tomorrow:
Two days ago, you filed an Answer in which you denied many factual allegations set forth in the article of impeachment. You have thus attempted to put critical facts at issue 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.
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.
By the way, there is no presumption of innocence in an impeachment trial.
Trump’s latest lawyers, the “Unites States” team of Bruce Castor and David Schoen, first bashed the request without actually refusing it.
@maggieNYT got a copy of the prompt reply from Trump lawyers, who calls the invitation to testify a “public relations stunt.” They do not explicitly say "no" tho
“The use of our Constitution to bring a purported impeachment proceeding is much too serious to play these games." pic.twitter.com/FDDMixhVVh
— Nicholas Fandos (@npfandos) February 4, 2021
Later, Schoen "clarified" that Trump really won't appear voluntarily (it's possible, though unlikely, he could be subpoenaed, though).
Meanwhile, lawyers on Twitter have thoughts:
Surprised @nytimes is saying the decision to call Trump to testify at impeachment was surprising and unexpected. Seems like the obvious call all along. Let him stand and account for his words and deeds.https://t.co/d2rXdOrEyx
— Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) February 4, 2021
Smart move by @RepRaskin to ask Trump to testify. Won’t have time to force it, but will give rise to all kinds of arguments about how Trump could have come in and dispelled this or that notion for the American people but chose not to.
— Harry Litman (@harrylitman) February 4, 2021
How does the House impeachment managers' request for Trump to testify at trial play out? (Started to explain this just now with @brikeilarcnn but, understandably, had to yield the floor to the President of the United States).
— Elie Honig (@eliehonig) February 4, 2021
This is by miles the most important story of the day.
Calling on Trump to testify is a brilliant move that corners him and Republican Senators.
I can't imagine his lawyers letting him be cross-examined. He's a train wreck.
If he refuses, it'll be seen as an admission of guilt https://t.co/HESM3m0ZLt
— Greg Pinelo (@gregpinelo) February 4, 2021
Senator Chris Coons, everyone:
Question: Do you think Trump should testify?
Coons: I think it’s a terrible idea
Coons: Have you met President Trump?
h/t pool reporter @frankthorp
— Kristin Wilson (@kristin__wilson) February 4, 2021
Manchin says of calling Trump to testify at his trial:
“Oh my goodness. Boy that would be a dog and pony show”
— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) February 4, 2021
54 weeks and one impeachment ago, I wrote about the Captain Queeg moment that would transpire if the respondent took the witness stand in his own defense. I think what I said still holds: https://t.co/dkXzcTisnH pic.twitter.com/kY7EiTKLrR
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) February 4, 2021