Democrats demanded earlier today that President Donald Trump appear and testify at his coming Senate impeachment trial. This came after his lawyers released their initial rebuttals to the charges being made.
It didn’t take long for Trump to respond in exactly the fashion you’d expect. Namely, he told them to go pound sand.
This per CBS News.
Washington — The attorneys representing President Donald Trump in hissaid Thursday he will not testify at the proceedings next week, dismissing demands by House Democrats for his testimony as a “public relations stunt.”…
…Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Bruce Castor and David Schoen, called Raskin’s request a “public relations stunt” in a response later in the day.
“As you certainly know, there is no such thing as a negative inference in this unconstitutional proceeding,” they wrote in response to Raskin. “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 use of our Constitution to bring a purported impeachment proceeding is much too serious to try to play these games.”
This is exactly correct in my view. Trump is out of office, which makes it very difficult to even defend this impeachment’s existence on constitutional grounds. He can’t be removed from office anymore, which is the only prescribed remedy after conviction, and it’s fairly clear the process was never intended to be used in this manner. Further, Democrats have picked Patrick Leahy to preside over the trial instead of the Chief Justice even though the Constitution pointedly says the Chief Justice must preside. On those counts alone, Trump owes these people nothing, or at the very least, he owes them a fight every step of the way. There can be no cordiality here.
Democrats know they don’t have much to go on here. Their case is built on supposition, much like their first, failed impeachment attempt, and contains not a single direct incitement to violence. In fact, Trump specifically said on the day of the Capitol riot for people to protest peacefully. The claims that he “lied” about election fraud seem rather irrelevant. Politicians lie, they make grandiose statements, and they encourage their supporters to push back. If that’s now to be extrapolated into a call to violence, then a heck of a lot of other politicians need to face impeachment, including figures like Bernie Sanders and Maxine Waters.
In the end, this is going nowhere. The votes for conviction aren’t there. Democrats will fail again and then whine that the other side doesn’t care about democracy or some other such nonsense. Meanwhile, Trump has no obligation to play along with their stunt.