Donald Trump Declines Request to Testify Under Oath in His Second Impeachment Trial

Donald Trump has been invited to testify under oath next week, either before or during his Senate trial, House impeachment managers announced Thursday.

However, Trump adviser Jason Miller tells PEOPLE the former president "will not testify" next week.

The optional request comes after lawyers for Trump, 74, filed their initial trial paperwork Tuesday, which both denied his responsibility for last month's deadly U.S. Capitol riot and continued to push his baseless claims that the 2020 election was somehow "stolen" from him.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, the House's leading impeachment manager (analogous to a prosecutor to a trial), wrote in response: "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's lawyers Bruce Castor and David Schoen responded to Raskin in a letter obtained by PEOPLE on Thursday afternoon, calling Raskin's request a "public relations stunt."

"The use of our Constitution to bring a purported impeachment proceeding is much too serious to try to play these games," the lawyers wrote.

Raskin had invited Trump to provide testimony and sit for cross-examination sometime between Monday and Thursday. "We would be pleased to arrange such testimony at a mutually convenient time and place," his letter to Trump reads.

Trump's unprecedented second impeachment trial, on a charge of incitement of an insurrection, is set to begin on Tuesday.

The Capitol riot occurred after the former president gave a rally speech earlier on Jan. 6 near the White House, disputing his election loss to now-President Joe Biden and telling his supporters to "fight like hell" and head to the Capitol.

Members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence had gathered there to certify the election results.

At the Capitol, the throngs of Trump supporters descended into mob violence and breached the building, overwhelming police. Lawmakers temporarily went into hiding. Five people died.

Ten House Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in voting to impeach Trump — the most impeachment votes ever cast by the president's own party.

However, at least 17 Republicans in the Senate would need to join the Democratic push to convict Trump next week and that appears unlikely.

Last week, 45 GOP senators voted against holding an impeachment trial at all, arguing it was unconstitutional. The vote failed, but it signaled little Republican appetite in the Senate to turn against Trump.

In their initial trial paperwork this week, impeachment managers argued that Trump was "singularly responsible" for the Capitol attack.

"Many have suggested that we should turn the page on the tragic events of January 6, 2021," the impeachment managers wrote. "But to heal the wounds he inflicted on the Nation, we must hold President Trump accountable for his conduct and, in so doing, reaffirm our core principles."

The House lawmakers added: "Failure to convict would embolden future leaders to attempt to retain power by any and all means—and would suggest that there is no line a President cannot cross."

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