'Speed it up,' Sen. Merkley tells House committee on impeachment

Michael Isikoff
Chief Investigative Correspondent

The House Judiciary Committee got an unexpected vote of no confidence Thursday in its timetable to move forward with an impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

“It’s late and it’s not expeditious enough,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., when asked about the panel’s vote to proceed with a wide-ranging impeachment investigation into the president.

Merkley’s comments — made during an interview with the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery” — underscored the political difficulties facing House Democrats pushing to remove the president from the office before next November’s election.

Merkley is among the Senate’s most progressive members and a sure vote, if it ever comes to that, to convict Trump of obstruction of justice and abuse of power. But he seemed anything but enthusiastic about how the House Judiciary Democrats were proceeding, especially regarding their current timetable, which calls for investigating the president for the next four months and then voting on a bill of impeachment near the end of the year.

Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photo: AP)

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Merkley said in the interview that the House should have moved to impeach Trump as soon as it received special counsel Robert Mueller’s report documenting multiple instances in which the president attempted to obstruct the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“The idea of a four-month's inquiry, I just kind of grabbed my head and said, ‘What are you thinking?’” Merkley said about the timetable laid out by House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler. “There’s so much information. Hold one month, hold the vote, either impeach or don’t. Get it done. ... Speed it up.”

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