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Sen. Merkley: GOP senators face dilemma in Trump verdict

Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon told reporters Thursday a decision by GOP senators to convict could run contrary to what voters in their states want.

Posted: Feb 11, 2021 1:12 PM
Updated: Feb 11, 2021 6:10 PM

SALEM, Ore. — A Democratic U.S. senator says he believes his Republican colleagues will be thinking about what's more important: their place in history or getting re-elected when they vote on former President Donald Trump's guilt or innocence on incitement of insurrection.

Senator Jeff Merkley told reporters on Thursday that the mood in the Senate chamber on Wednesday as the House impeachment managers began presenting their arguments — showing footage from the Capitol as insurrectionists poured inside — was "somber and very focused."

"Virtually all of us had been in that chamber on the day of the assault. We had heard the first confrontation outside the main doors to the Senate, the ones that lead down the hallway that goes to the House of Representatives," Merkley said.


RELATED: Impeachment trial of former President Trump enters third day


"To see this again, laid out from the viewpoint from outside the Capitol, the sequence of the day and how all these events came to pass and to see how close we came to a much larger disaster . . . " Merkley continued. "Now it was a significant, significant — a disaster. You have five individuals who died. You have some 140 police officers who were injured."

Merkley said that, based on what he's heard from his colleagues, a decision by GOP senators to convict could run contrary to what voters in their states want.

"A number of colleagues are deeply troubled," Merkley said. "They know this is a moment in history, which they would like to do the right thing, but they feel the right thing may be in conflict with the political imperative of where their electoral base sits — the opinions of their electoral base.”

Only six Republican senators on Tuesday joined 50 Democrats in voting to proceed with the impeachment trial. But votes of two-thirds of members of the Senate —- or at least 67 votes — are needed to convict.

"You need to not only hold people accountable now, but we need to send a strong message to the future," Merkley said. "Coming together to repair our institutions is very important. Proceeding to allow the damage that has been done to sit unattended would be unpatriotic, un-American, and simply wrong.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 177134

Reported Deaths: 2467
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah35310570
Washington23704229
Marion20393299
Clackamas15557204
Lane11802144
Jackson10077129
Umatilla800083
Deschutes731272
Linn422263
Yamhill413675
Klamath357159
Polk348452
Malheur343358
Josephine310062
Douglas306566
Benton277719
Jefferson207732
Coos198631
Columbia156126
Union141824
Lincoln130520
Wasco130428
Hood River113529
Morrow108415
Clatsop9078
Crook89519
Baker86714
Curry6049
Tillamook5883
Grant4304
Lake4177
Harney3156
Wallowa1585
Gilliam571
Sherman571
Wheeler261
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3725088

Reported Deaths: 61193
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122999823702
Riverside2976314547
San Bernardino2951314569
San Diego2756313681
Orange2692584902
Santa Clara1173792019
Kern1080611333
Sacramento1017871651
Fresno1007681650
Alameda856521477
Ventura803601002
San Joaquin717351334
Contra Costa67157782
Stanislaus606491035
Tulare49443831
Monterey43301364
San Mateo41251560
San Francisco36117529
Santa Barbara33926445
Solano32086243
Merced31289453
Sonoma29734312
Imperial28024719
Kings22781245
Placer21957283
San Luis Obispo20991257
Madera16301240
Santa Cruz15719204
Marin13868227
Yolo13581200
Shasta11747219
Butte11619196
El Dorado9797109
Napa971579
Sutter9299109
Yuba612744
San Benito598863
Lassen567924
Tehama544556
Nevada448975
Tuolumne408664
Mendocino399647
Humboldt365938
Amador363146
Lake341843
Glenn235925
Colusa220416
Calaveras206252
Siskiyou196521
Inyo141838
Del Norte12907
Mono12744
Plumas6936
Modoc4904
Mariposa4297
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned470
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