Merkley: Impeachment articles ‘sad but necessary’


Articles allege abuse of power, obstruction of Congress

Sen. Jeff Merkley during an interview at the KOIN 6 News studio, October 3, 2019 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley said the articles of impeachment laid out against President Trump demand integrity from each member of Congress, both in the House and the Senate.

“Today is a sad and solemn day for America, but a necessary one,” Merkley said in a statement. “The House has laid out a clear set of facts that should concern every American. The President solicited foreign interference in the 2020 election, and conditioned official actions upon receiving this assistance for his campaign. He was entrusted with the powers of the presidency to serve the public interest, but instead he’s used them to advance his own interest.”

House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment Tuesday against President Donald Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — pushing toward historic votes over charges he threatened the integrity ofthe US election system and endangered national security in his dealings with Ukraine.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, flanked by the chairmen of the impeachment inquiry committees, declared at the US Capitol that they were upholding their solemn oath to defend the Constitution. Voting is expected in a matter of days in the Judiciary Committee and by Christmas in the full House.

Trump swiftly responded in a capital-letters tweet with the words he uses repeatedly to decry the investigations against him: “WITCH HUNT!” The White House said the charges were “baseless,” andhis reelection campaign called them “rank partisanship.”

Merkley said this is the situation the Founding Fathers feared and why they provided a clause for the impeachment of a president.

“This process is part of the checks and balances intended to preserve the integrity of our democracy, our national security, and the foundational idea that nobody is above the law. The House has a duty to consider articles of impeachment with impartiality, dignity, and respect for our constitutional values and the future health of our Republic,” he said.

Merkley called for every Congressional member “to put country above party. Each member of Congress should search their heart, and ask how they would vote if the President was of the opposite party. That is the integrity that this moment demands.”

Statement from Rep. Kurt Schrader:

“After solemn deliberation, reading the documents relevant to the impeachment inquiry and closely following the hearings, I will be supporting the two articles of impeachment for the President of the United States. President Trump’s conduct in his interactions with the President of Ukraine were illegal and he obstructed justice by refusing to cooperate with Congressional investigations.

“President Trump released a transcript of his call on July 25th, 2019 with the newly elected Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky. The call transcript revealed Trump asking President Zelensky for a favor that would directly benefit him in an American political election. That is illegal. The details of the call and his actions for his own political benefit were corroborated by numerous Administration officials, both career and recent political appointees. In the process of asking for this favor, the President also directly engaged in political election discussion while conducting official business, which is also illegal. All elected officials, including the President and myself, must abide by election laws and keep our political election discussions separate from our official role as public servants.

“No President, Republican, or Democrat has so completely defied lawfully issued subpoenas by Congress in its constitutional duty as President Trump. Our Founders put Congress, not the President in, charge of this country.

“I feel these actions put our country, the United States of America, at great risk and therefore warrant the President’s impeachment at this time.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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