Lawyers for former US President Donald Trump on Thursday (local time) dismissed the prospect of him testifying at his Senate trial next week by calling it a public relations (PR) stunt after impeachment managers requested that he do so under oath.
"We are in receipt of your latest public relations stunt. As you certainly know, there is no such thing as a negative inference in this unconstitutional proceeding," attorneys Bruce Castor and David Schoen wrote to lead impeachment manager Representative Jamie Raskin as quoted by The Hill.
"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," the letter continued and added, "The use of our Constitution to bring a purported impeachment proceeding is much too serious to play these games."
However, the letter did not say that Trump would not testify, but Jason Miller, a senior adviser to Trump, later said unequivocally that the former president would not participate.
"The President (Trump) will not testify in an unconstitutional proceeding," Miller said in a statement.
Trump's second impeachment trial is set to begin next week. The House of Representatives last month impeached the former president for inciting violence against the government over his role in the January 6 riot at the US Capitol, which also claimed the life of a police officer.
The American outlet reported that Raskin sent a letter to Trump and his attorneys earlier on Thursday alleging that the former president's defence denies irrefutable facts about Trump's role in the deadly insurrection.
Raskin asked Trump to testify, and face cross-examination, as early as Monday and not later than February 11, suggesting that the testimony would not necessarily be in the Senate chamber or even in public.
The Democratic impeachment managers outlined their case in a legal brief filed this week, in which they argued Trump was "singularly responsible" for the riot.
However, the former President's lawyers argue that Trump is constitutionally ineligible to face an impeachment trial because he's no longer in office. They added that even if senators found the proceedings constitutional, his comments were protected under the First Amendment.
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