In what would be “the most dramatic legal political event in the history of our era,” Donald Trump will testify under oath in his own defense, once the impeachment proceedings against him move to the Senate for a trial. At least, that’s the prediction of Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court judge. Napolitano delivered his bold prediction in an appearance on the network Thursday morning, according to The Hill.
Napolitano went on to describe an unprecedented scene — that he believes will take place — with the president of the United States giving sworn testimony on live television with “200 million” viewers tuning in. He also claimed the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court and all 100 members of the Senate will be present in the chamber to watch the event.
On Thursday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she had instructed the House to draft articles of impeachment against Trump. Her announcement came just minutes after Trump took to Twitter to post a message in which he appeared to dare Pelosi to order the impeachment articles against him.
“If you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast,” Trump wrote, saying that he wanted “a fair trial” in the Senate. But he did not say whether he planned to take the stand in his own defense in the trial and his prior actions in the impeachment inquiry, as well as in the Russia collusion investigation conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, appear to indicate that Napolitano’s prediction may not come true.
During the Mueller investigation, the special counsel repeatedly sought to take Trump’s testimony. Finally, he agreed to accept written answers, which would be prepared largely by White House lawyers. According to evidence presented in the trial last month of Trump friend and advisor Roger Stone, however, even those written answers may have contained falsehoods.
In addition, in both the Mueller probe and in the current impeachment inquiry, Trump has ordered his aides and advisors to refuse to testify before Congress and has declared his administration will defy subpoenas for all documents requested by the congressional committees tasked with the impeachment investigation, according to a report by The New York Times.
Napolitano has broken with many of his Fox News colleagues by stating on the channel that Democrats in Congress have collected sufficient evidence to justify impeaching Trump. Napolitino said in a recent interview, quoted by The Hill, that Trump’s conduct could lead to “three or four” articles against him, including bribery, obstruction of justice, and violations of election laws.
Under the U.S. Constitution, the House may draw up articles of impeachment, but the Senate is where the trial would take place to decide if the president will be removed from office. The full Senate acts as jury, according to Reuters, and a two-thirds majority is needed to successfully remove the president.