Oregon’s Democrat senators issued statements following a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach Republican President Donald Trump for abuse of power and obstructing Congress.
The articles of impeachment now go to the U.S. Senate, which will hear arguments and vote on whether or not Trump should be removed from office. The House voted 230-197 to charge Trump with abuse of power and 229-198 to charge him with obstruction of Congress. The votes were largely split along party lines.
The impeachment vote marked the end of a three-month Democrat-led investigation of allegations that Trump pressured Ukrainian officials to investigate his political rivals while withholding security assistance and a prestigious White House meeting.
Republicans have maintained that the impeachment articles are the results of an ongoing Democrat campaign against Trump since he took office, claiming that Democrats are seeking to overturn Trump’s election using a partisan process.
Sen. Ron Wyden said the senate has no weightier responsibility than to judge an impeached president. He said as a juror in the coming proceedings, he intends to look at all of the evidence and vote for a just outcome, not a political one.
Wyden said a just outcome is only possible if the Senate has access to all of the facts. He called for the chamber to be allowed to call all necessary witnesses and subpoena all necessary documents to get the fullest possible picture of the events for which the president was impeached.
“In my view, no member can uphold their oath of office without calling for a full airing of the facts at hand,” Wyden said. “I urge all of my colleagues to think carefully about how history would judge a sham process designed by the person standing trial.”
Sen. Jeff Merkley said the 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,” Merkley said. “Today, the House fulfilled its constitutional responsibility.”
Merkley said 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. He called it 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.
“We owe the nation facts, fairness, and integrity – not a cover-up,” Merkley said. “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.”
Merkley said at the start of the trial the senator will swear an oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws. He said the oath is not to a party or a president. He added that there would be lasting damage to democracy if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocks the conducting of a fair trial.
“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,” Merkley said.
State Rep. Kurt Schrader (Fifth District) also issued a statement after Trump was impeached. He said after reading a transcript of Trump’s July 25 conversation with the Ukrainian president, and after listening to concerns from career and political appointees of the administration, he voted in favor of impeachment.
“These actions are illegal and pose serious risk to our democratic form of government,” Schrader said.