Merkley: Impeachment could reach Senate in early January


Oregon senator also talked about the Afghanistan papers, climate change

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Saying the US Constitution “envisions checks and balances,” Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley told KOIN 6 News the articles of impeachment against President Trump will likely reach the Senate on January 6, 2020.

Shortly after the House laid out their articles of impeachment, Merkley said, “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.”

Those impeachment articles, if approved by the House of Representatives, would be physically walked across the Capitol from the House to the Senate after the holiday recess ends, Merkley said Wednesday.

In a somewhat related area, he said he hasn’t read the details on the Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s Russia probe, although he has read the entire summary. Noting Attorney General William Barr has publicly disagreed with the IG’s report, Merkley said it seems as if Barr is “acting as the president’s personal attorney than as the chief lawmaker of the United States. That’s regrettable.”

This week a number of documents relating to the war in Afghanistan were released, and Merkley described them “as very similar to the Pentagon papers.” The Afghanistan papers reveal “the American people were lied to” by US leaders at the time.

“The fact that our Pentagon was lying to the American people” is “absolutely horrendous,” he said. Merkley, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has led votes to end the war.

He’s also introduced a resolution to get the US back into the Paris Climate Accord. He candidly said “this resolution has very little chance” of getting out of the Senate, but said it was still important to keep bringing these issues up.

Oregon, he said, is already seeing the effects of climate change from the snow melts to the forest fires to the impact off the coastal waters.

“This is a profound assault on the entire planet” and it remains important for the United States “to exercise leadership” on climate change.

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