'Weary' retiring Rep. Denny Heck says growing number in Congress no longer 'believe in compromise'

The lawmaker said on NBC's "Meet the Press" with Chuck Todd that he doesn't understand how Trump's getting a pass from the GOP.

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By Phil McCausland

Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash., said one of the reasons for his announced retirement from the House of Representatives is that a growing number of Republicans and Democrats in Congress "simply don't believe in compromise, don't believe even in principled compromises" anymore.

In an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press with Chuck Todd" to be broadcast Sunday, the four-term representative of a district that includes the Washington state capital, Olympia, also said he will "go to my grave not understanding how some of my colleagues could simply turn the other way and overlook the president's behavior and his misdeeds."

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"My soul is weary," he said of why he is retiring at the end of this term.

As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Heck has played a central role in the ongoing impeachment inquiry into whether President Donald Trump pushed leaders in Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, his political rival, by withholding military aid.

Heck said he will never understand colleagues in Congress who overlook the president's "unrelenting attack, frankly, on the free press, overlook his kind of vicious character assassinations, sometimes gratuitously, as in the instance of Ambassador Yovanovitch, and just, frankly, ignore the fact that he has such, to put it charitably, a very distant relationship with the truth."

Marie Yovanovitch is the ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who testified in one of the impeachment hearings.

During that hearing last month, Heck called Yovanovitch "the best of this nation," a moment that went viral.

“I am very angry about how it is the most powerful person on the face of the earth would remove you from office after your stellar service and somehow feel compelled to characterize you as ‘bad news,’ and then to ominously threaten that you’re ‘going to go through some things" Heck said at the time. "So I am angry, but I’m not surprised.”