Destitution: Will Donald Trump really testify before the commission?

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Donald Trump rarely shows affection for "nervous Nancy Pelosi". Monday, however, the President of the United States said "love an idea" of the Democratic President of the House of Representatives.

The day before, on CBS, she had stated that if Trump "disagrees with what he heard" during the public hearings in the impeachment hearing against him, "he should come before the (intelligence) commission and testify under oath "as part of the" impeachment "investigation. "He can do it in writing, too," she added.

"I will consider it seriously," said Donald Trump. Unexpectedly, the reaction of the President denotes once again a certain exasperation at the public hearings that continue this week. On Friday, he attacked Marie Yovanovitch in a tweet just as the former US ambassador to Ukraine was answering questions from the elected members of the House.

Do not expect to see in the coming days Trump do the three kilometers between the White House Capitol to appear before the Intelligence Committee. This reversal of scenario is improbable and is "not credible," Judge Corentin Sellin, historian specializing in the United States. "It does not make sense for his defense and it would be against his interests. "

A sign of exasperation

From the beginning, Trump has not deviated from his line of conduct. He has always refused to cooperate with what he denounces as a "witch hunt". The president announced it in black and white on October 8 in a letter to the House of Representatives signed by his lawyer, Pat A. Cipollone. Bringing "executive privilege" to the fore, the White House has also banned his staff from testifying or providing documents to Congress. But how can one continue to ban his advisers from what the president says he is ready to do?

Even if Trump actually came to testify, whether in the form of an audition or a written document, a crucial question would arise: would this testimony be sworn, as Pelosi asks? Trump did not expand on this point. Under oath, the value of the testimony and the risk incurred, that of self-incrimination, would obviously not be the same.

It would also be a first in American history. Several presidents have already testified before the Congress, but never under oath. The last time was in October 1974, when Gerald Ford explained why he had forgiven his predecessor Richard Nixon after the Watergate crisis. As early as 1789, when the republic was still in its infancy, George Washington presented himself before the senators to discuss treaties with the Indian nations.

Voluntary testimonials

In the midst of the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln found himself before the Judiciary Committee of the House for his State of the Union Address of 1862 published in the columns of the New York Herald before congressional officials took it. knowledge. Half a century later, Woodrow Wilson extolled the merits of the Versailles Treaty to senators who had made the trip to the White House for the occasion.

In each case, the President of the United States voluntarily folded the exercise. Because Congress probably does not have the opportunity to compel a president to testify in the form of a subpoena. "This is one of the issues of American constitutional law that has never been resolved," said Corentin Sellin. "For many jurists, the Supreme Court would rule that Congress waived this right simply because it never exercised it. In any case, it would be a legal war that would last for months or even years. "

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