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Impeachment: House Democrats call on Trump to testify; he declines

Impeachment: House Democrats call on Trump to testify; he declines
Former President Donald Trump delivers remarks to supporters at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., on January 6. House impeachment managers requested he testify under oath about his actions leading up to the Capitol attack later in the day. File Photo by Shawn Thew/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 4 (UPI) -- House impeachment managers on Thursday formally called on former President Donald Trump to testify under oath next week as part of his Senate trial.

The request came in a letter from lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., who questioned Trump's denial of many of the allegations included in the article of impeachment.

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"You have thus attempted to put critical facts at issue notwithstanding the clear and overwhelming evidence of your constitutional offense," Raskin wrote. "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."

Trump declined the request.

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"The president will not testify in an unconstitutional proceeding," adviser Jason Miller told CNN.

The letter urged Trump to testify as early as Monday, but no later than Feb. 11.

The House voted Jan. 13 to impeach Trump on charges he incited an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol earlier in the month, leading directly to five deaths.

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In the first legal impeachment brief filed earlier this week, House Democrats said Trump was singularly responsible for the attack after weeks of repeating unproven and baseless claims of widespread voter fraud.

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Trump's defense team filed a 14-page response, arguing it was unconstitutional to convict him while he was no longer in office and his speech was protected by the First Amendment.

"The constitutional provision requires that a person actually hold office to be impeached," Trump's attorneys, Bruce Castor and David Schoen, wrote in the response.

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Trump's lawyers also denied that Trump's remark to a crowd at the Capitol shortly before the Jan. 6 insurrection, "If you don't fight like hell you're not going to have a country anymore," incited the action in an attempt to disrupt lawmakers duty that day to certify the presidential election results.

Trump added Castor and Schoen to his legal team earlier this week after his previous attorneys left his legal defense.

The impeachment trial in the Senate is scheduled to start Tuesday. Conviction requires a two-thirds vote, meaning at least 17 Republicans would have to join Democrats.

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Supporters of President Donald Trump riot against the Electoral College vote count on Wednesday in protest of Trump's loss to President-elect Joe Biden, prompting a lockdown of the Capitol Building. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

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