WASHINGTON, DC – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley today released the following statement following the conclusion of the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump:
“Today, is a dark, tragic day for our nation. Today, the United Stated Senate completed the first cover up in this institution’s more than two hundred year history when the majority of my colleagues voted not to convict and remove Donald J. Trump from office.
“As many of my Republican colleagues have admitted in recent days, the House Managers proved their case that President Trump used our country’s vast power in an attempt to smear a political opponent and corrupt the integrity of our upcoming national election. These acts are not merely ‘inappropriate,’ like lying to the public, shunning our allies, or pressing foreign governments to patronize your properties. No, what President Trump did was to direct a corrupt conspiracy that comprised a fundamental assault on our Constitution.
“It fell to the Senate to hold the president accountable by holding a full and fair trial to uncover the truth, and then rendering impartial justice. Instead, the Senate proved itself neither ‘sufficiently dignified, or sufficiently independent,’ in the words of Alexander Hamilton. Instead, the Senate majority engaged in a cover-up. No witnesses, no documents, no full and fair trial. And so no exoneration.
“Today’s vote, and the Senate’s abdication of its responsibility to rein in an out-of-control President is a devastating blow to the norms and institutions, and the checks and balances that have laid at the heart of our Constitution and American democracy since its very founding. Yet we must remember that this outcome does not come in a vacuum. It’s just the latest in a long list of examples of our government being systematically rigged by one party for the benefit of the powerful and privileged. Decisions in the Supreme Court like Citizens United, and Shelby County, and Rucho vs. Common Cause have repeatedly given more power to the powerful, and trampled government of, by and for the people. And efforts like stealing a Supreme Court seat and refusing to allow amendments to legislation have only served to erode the Senate’s constitutional powers and authority.
“The Senate majority’s refusal to hold a full and fair trial, its blessing to the president to use the powers of the government to attack his political opponents, and its decision to cover it all up are a blow to the heart of the separation of powers. They are a blow to the very idea that We the People are in charge.
“Government of the people, by the people, and for the people is not a birthright. It is a precious gift bequeathed to us by those who came before us. It will take the goodwill and good faith of the American people to maintain it. I believe in our constitution, I believe in checks and balances, I believe in We the People. If we are going to leave future generations of Americans the same gift we received, all of us are going to have to fight like hell to restore and defend it.”
Click here for access to a video version of Senator Merkley’s statement.