Donald Trump Could Be the First President to Testify During Own Impeachment Inquiry

President Donald Trump tweeted that he would "strongly consider" testifying for impeachment proceedings. If he follows through, the testimony could be the first from a sitting U.S. President regarding his own impeachment inquiry.

Side by side with personal insults directed at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Trump said he nonetheless gleaned an idea from the California Democrat in the Monday thread.

Pelosi "suggested on Sunday's DEFACE THE NATION that I testify about the phony Impeachment Witch Hunt. She also said I could do it in writing. Even though I did nothing wrong, and don't like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!" the president wrote.

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While Republicans have called for the unmasking of the anonymous whistleblower who first unveiled Trump's phone call with Ukraine, Democrats have responded with a pointed rebuke: let Trump testify on his own behalf.

During last Wednesday's hearing, Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, a Republican, repeatedly dismissed the featured witnesses, calling instead for "the guy who started it all," referring to the whistleblower.

Vermont Representative Peter Welch, a Democrat, gave an electrifying retort, according to reporting by The New Republic: "I'd be glad to have the person who started it all," he told the Ohio Republican at the time. "President Trump is welcome to come in and sit down right there."

Trump Might Face the Suits
Clockwise from upper right, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Rep. Eric Swallwell (D-CA) listen during a hearing in which former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Though sitting presidents have testified before Congress, none have ever testified before the House during their own impeachment inquiry.

Bill Clinton, U.S. President from 1993 to 2001, was famously impeached over his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinksy, a White House intern. After lying about his involvement with Lewinsky in a separate sexual harassment lawsuit, Clinton admitted the relationship before a federal grand jury, but otherwise did not testify before Congress.

In light of the testimony, the House approved three articles of impeachment, but Republicans fell short of the two-thirds majority required to remove the president for "high crimes and misdemeanors" in the Senatorial trial that followed.

The seventh U.S. President Andrew Johnson was formally impeached by Congress in 1868 for vetoing legislation meant to protect the rights of people freed from slavery in the Civil War, as well as repeated attempts to fire then-Secretary of War Edwin Stanton over related matters, according to the Senate Historical Office.

Johnson won acquittal in the Senate without testifying, according to an account by the Senate Historical Office.

Former President Richard Nixon wasn't formally impeached. After the U.S. Supreme Court forced him to release full samples of White House conversations, the "Smoking Gun Tape" revealed the extent of his involvement in the Watergate cover-up, degrading his credibility and political clout in congress.

Nixon resigned before the House could vote on submitted impeachment articles by a special committee without testifying before the House. However, he did testify before the Watergate grand jury in the summer of 1975, the year after his resignation.

Trump offered written testimony during special counsel Robert S. Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference. His participation in the impeachment hearing is considered unlikely.

Correction: A previous version of this story identified Jim Jordan as a Democrat. He is a Republican.

Donald Trump Could Be the First President to Testify During Own Impeachment Inquiry | Politics