Trump fell for "constitutional jiu-jitsu" by refusing to testify in impeachment trial claims analyst

The former president's absence could hurt him in this case explains MSNBC's Danny Cevallos

By Tom Boggioni
February 6, 2021 7:43PM (UTC)
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U.S. President Donald Trump (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on Raw Story

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Early Saturday morning, MSNBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos suggested Donald Trump walked into a trap with his refusal to appear and testify at his second impeachment trial which starts next Tuesday.

Speaking with hosts Kendis Gibson and Lindsey Reiser, the defense attorney stated that House impeachment manager, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) executed "constitutional jiu-jitsu" by asking the former president to appear as opposed to subpoenaing him.

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"How much could Trump's absence, actually, hurt him, in this case next week?" the attorney was asked.

"Jamie Raskin is using a great bit of constitutional jiu-jitsu here," Cevallos replied. "They did not issue a subpoena, they just requested or invited him to come testify and President Trump declined. This is not a subpoena situation, but, you know, in our parallel-judicial courts, we have a principle: in criminal cases only that the prosecution and the judge cannot comment on an accused's silence at a criminal trial. But in civil cases, that comment or that inference, that negative inference from a defendant's silence, is allowed."

"Beyond that, the president or former president isn't even being compelled to come speak or testify at this impeachment," he continued. "And the reality is, whereas in judicial court, we have centuries of case law and bound volumes of books like the ones behind me telling today's courts what to do, the Senate is bound by none of that. They are bound by whatever the head count is of their votes in today's Senate."

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