WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) today introduced new legislation that would require the Senate to consider evidence and hear from witnesses in future impeachment trials.
The Senators’ resolution follows the conclusion last week of the first-ever Senate impeachment trial that did not include any witness testimony. The Merkley-Van Hollen resolution would ensure the rights of both sides to call relevant witnesses and introduce relevant evidence in any future impeachment trial.
“Whether to hear out the truth should never be a partisan question,” said Merkley. “Impeachment is a key tool that goes to the heart of our constitutional system of checks and balances. The Senate must never fail its constitutional responsibility in this way again. That’s exactly why we should fix our rules now, while there is a window for Democrats and Republicans to agree on fair rules for both sides outside the pressure of an imminent trial.”
“The Senate’s sham impeachment trial was a disgrace to the Congress and to the country. It was the first impeachment trial in American history where the Senate did not hear from any witnesses or receive relevant documents. To prevent this type of farce from occurring again, the Senate must change its rules to require witnesses and documents. I’m proud to join Senator Merkley in introducing this legislation to change the Senate rules to ensure fair impeachment trials. Partisanship should not come before the truth,” said Van Hollen.
Merkley announced his intention to introduce the legislation last week, after the Senate voted down motions to subpoena witnesses on multiple near-party line votes.
The full text of the Merkley-Van Hollen proposal is available here.