Thursday, February 04, 2021
Impeachment against ex-presidents
Democrats: Trump should testify under oath
If the accusers of the former US President Trump have their way, he should also testify in the impeachment proceedings against him – under oath. The warning: Should the Republican refuse, it could be used against him.
In the impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, the prosecutors asked the former US president to testify under oath. In a letter to Trump, Democratic MP Jamie Raskin, the chief prosecutor, wrote that his attorneys had rejected numerous allegations in a statement despite the "overwhelming burden of proof". Therefore, a personal statement is necessary – either in the proceedings before the Senate from next Tuesday or shortly before.
If the ex-president refuses to testify, this could be used against him in the so-called impeachment proceedings, warned Raskin. In the past, even incumbent presidents like Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton have testified in such trials. "So there is no doubt that you can testify in this process." For Trump, a statement under oath could be risky, especially since the Democrats would probably ask him on many topics. Should he then be proven to be untruthful, he could be prosecuted. Trump should therefore do everything in his power to avoid a statement – even if this is likely to be more difficult after the end of his term in office.
Trump did not appear in the first impeachment proceedings against him, which had been initiated over the Ukraine affair. It ended with an acquittal by the then Republican-dominated Senate. The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives decided to initiate impeachment proceedings for "inciting riot" on January 13, a week after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.
The then president is accused of inciting his supporters to the riots at a rally. Among other things, he had said: "If you don't fight like the devil, you will have no more land." As an ex-president, Trump can no longer be removed from office. However, the Senate could block him for future offices at the federal level, which would thwart a candidacy in the 2024 presidential election. The two-thirds majority in the chamber that is necessary for a conviction is not emerging. This would require 17 Republicans to vote with the 50 Democrats.