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Trump Will Not Testify In Senate Impeachment Trial, Adviser Says

Former President Trump speaks to supporters on his last day in office on Jan. 20, 2021.
Getty Images
Former President Trump speaks to supporters on his last day in office on Jan. 20, 2021.

The lead House impeachment manager sent a letter Thursday to former President Trump inviting him to testify under oath in the Senate trial on the article of impeachment that says Trump incited the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

"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," Rep. Jamie Raskin wrote in the letter.

"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. 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."

On Tuesday, House managers filed a brief laying out their argument — that Trump whipped the crowd "into a frenzy" then aimed them "like a loaded cannon" at the U.S. Capitol.

Trump's legal team then filed a response to the managers' brief, largely ignoring the factual assertions they laid out and arguing Trump did not incite the rioters.

Thursday's letter gives the former president and his legal team a Friday deadline to respond.

NPR has reached out to Trump's team, but did not receive an immediate response.

Five people died as a result of the riot at the Capitol by pro-Trump extremists who had been egged on by Republicans to contest the legal outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Two additional officers who responded to the melee have died by suicide in the weeks since.

Trump, specifically, is accused of having incited the mob to storm the Capitol, particularly in a speech earlier in the day in which he told the crowd to walk to the Capitol in protest of the election results.

"You'll never take back our country with weakness," he told the crowd.

The trial is set to begin next Tuesday.

This is Trump's second impeachment — the first of which stemmed from his role in the Ukraine affair. He declined to participate in the first impeachment proceedings.

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Alana Wise
Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.