WASHINGTON, DC — Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress:
“Our founders created the process of impeachment because they were deeply concerned about two significant dangers: first, foreign influence that might corrupt American democracy; and second, abuse of power by a president tempted to use his powers to become more like a king.
“For these two reasons, the founders placed in the hands of Congress the means to act as a check on a corrupt president: Impeachment in the House, followed by a trial in the Senate. Today, the House fulfilled its constitutional responsibility.
“The House has laid out a clear set of facts that should be alarming to anyone who cares about the integrity of our elections or the rule of law. The House presented a compelling case that the president solicited foreign interference in the 2020 election, that he conditioned official actions on this interference, and that he used the power of the office to advance his own interest instead of the public interest. By their vote today, they have concluded that this abuse of power and the president’s obstruction of the investigation are significant enough to trigger a Senate trial on whether President Trump should remain in office.
“Now, the process moves to the Senate, and this is a moment in which every Senator must put country above party. The guiding principle must be complete impartiality in service of the Constitution we swore to uphold. Every Senator should search their own heart, and ask themselves what they would do if the president were of the opposite party. We owe the nation facts, fairness, and integrity—not a cover-up.
“I am profoundly disturbed that the Majority Leader has already said that rather than conduct a fair trial, he is working alongside the White House to enact a party-wide cover-up. It is stunning that he is refusing to call witnesses because they would have evidence about the president’s misconduct.
“At the start of the trial, all Senators will swear an oath to ‘do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.’ The oath is not to their party, and not to their president. We are a nation of laws, not a cult of personality. If the Majority Leader blocks the conduct of a fair trial intended by the founders to determine whether the president has abused his power, and whether that abuse merits expulsion from office, then the Majority Leader will have inflicted a wound to our democracy that will have damaging consequences for decades to come. I hope that, over the coming holiday, all Senators will ponder their grave responsibility to rise to the occasion, and to bring our nation the facts, fairness, and integrity America deserves.”