Sen. Jeff Merkley Q&A on impeachment, War Powers

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In a satellite interview with KOIN 6 News, Sen. Jeff Merkley indicated he believes both the House managers and President Trump’s defense team should have access to both documents and witnesses they feel bolster their case.

Merkley spoke with KOIN 6 News at the time the House of Representatives was actually debating the resolution to approve the impeachment managers.

Ready for the impeachment trial? Do you think there will be witnesses? And the GOP wants to call the Bidens. What do you say?

“It’s important we have a full and fair trial and that means that both the case managers for the House and the lawyers in defense of the president have a full opportunity to present documents and witnesses that they feel are relevant to the charges.

“…The senators can submit questions, but you can’t stand up, you can’t speak, you don’t speak questions out loud. … Think of it more similar to jurors in a jury box sitting and listening to the proceedings. The speaking is done by the witnesses and by the lawyers for each side.

“My concern about the trial is that Mitch McConnell has not pledged himself to a fair and full trial. He has pledged himself to be a partial advocate for the President, which is completely at odds with the oath of office we take to the Constitution and at the oath we take at the start of the trial. That says we pledge ourselves to do impartial justice.

“I’m very concerned not only is the president on trial, but the Senate is on trial.”

The Senate looks to take up a War Powers resolution and it appears Sen. Tim Kaine has rounded up enough bipartisan support to pass it in the Senate. What is your take on this resolution? Was it necessary? Will it do anything?

“This is extremely important. Our founders said that the issue of going to war should never be entrusted to a single individual. There is too much cost in terms of the
blood of our sons and daughters, in terms of the cost of the national treasury, in terms of the injuries that reverberate for decades. It should only be entrusted to the people through the Congress. We need to re-assert that power.”

I know you want answers from the Customs and Border Protection on reports officers detained some American citizens because of their Iranian national origin. What’s the status of that?

“We have not gotten any answers yet. I think it is important that we stand up and make sure Americans are not being treated unfairly because of their ethnicity.”