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DJ House Impeachment Managers Ask Trump to Testify -- Update

· 02/04/2021 14:55
By Siobhan Hughes

WASHINGTON -- House impeachment managers asked former President Donald Trump to testify next week as part of the Senate trial, where he is facing charges that he incited an insurrection last month at the U.S. Capitol.

"Two days ago you filed an answer in which you denied many factual allegations set forth in the article of impeachment," wrote Rep. Jamie Raskin (D., Md.) in a letter. "You have thus attempted to put critical facts at issue notwithstanding the clear and overwhelming evidence of your constitutional offense."

Lawyers for Mr. Trump didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The managers said they wanted Mr. Trump to provide testimony as early as Monday, Feb. 8, and as late as Thursday, Feb. 11. The trial kicks off in earnest on Feb. 9. The managers said any testimony would include cross-examination.

The request clarifies what had been one of the central mysteries involving the trial: whether witnesses would be requested. It isn't known whether the Senate would permit such testimony, even if Mr. Trump agrees to offer it. The Senate still hasn't devised rules covering the impeachment trial, leaving outstanding critical details such as its duration and whether anyone would testify either in person or through a deposition.

If Mr. Trump were to decline to testify voluntarily, the Senate could seek to compel his testimony by subpoena. The House Judiciary Committee chair could also issue a subpoena, typically after a vote in committee.

No sitting or former president has ever testified in person at an impeachment trial, and Mr. Trump's allies dismissed the request for Mr. Trump's testimony. "It's obviously a political ploy on their part," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) told reporters on Capitol Hill.

Any testimony by Mr. Trump would be a blockbuster event, but also could carry risks for the former president.

"'Come into my parlor,' said the spider to the fly," said Frank Bowman, an impeachment expert who teaches at the University of Missouri's law school. "The obvious risks are that he would have a terribly difficult time explaining his course of conduct from the election to Jan. 6."

--Rebecca Ballhaus contributed to this article.

Write to Siobhan Hughes at siobhan.hughes@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 04, 2021 14:55 ET (19:55 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.