Trump refuses to testify in ‘unconstitutional’ impeachment trial

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Former United States (US) president Donald Trump refused on Thursday to testify in his looming impeachment trial after being called by House prosecutors to give evidence, branding the process “unconstitutional”.

Trump’s lawyers ridiculed the request in a letter by lead House prosecutor Jamie Raskin to answer questions over the January 6 attack on the US Capitol as a “public relations stunt”.

“Your letter only confirms what is known to everyone: you cannot prove your allegations” against Trump, attorneys Bruce Castor and David Schoen said in their reply.

While the attorneys did not say whether he would testify, a senior advisor to Trump, Jason Miller, said flatly that he would not.

“The president will not testify in an unconstitutional proceeding,” Miller told AFP. The refusal came five days before the trial of the former US leader on one charge of “incitement to insurrection” opens in the US Senate.

In his unprecedented second impeachment trial, Trump is accused of fomenting the attack by his supporters on the US legislature one month ago, forcing a halt to proceedings to certify opponent Joe Biden’s victory in the November presidential election.

Raskin said the trial will prove “Trump’s conduct was indefensible”.

“His immediate refusal to testify speaks volumes and plainly establishes an adverse inference supporting his guilt,” he said in a statement.

Raskin asked Trump, who maintained without evidence that Biden won by massive fraud, to testify sometime next week, before or during the trial.

Former president Donald Trump looks on during a ceremony. PHOTO: AFP