Moderate Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski (shown) of Alaska went against the grain of her party with recent comments about the impeachment of President Donald Trump, stating in an interview that she was “disturbed” by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s vow to cooperate with the White House.
McConnell had told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that he will be “coordinating” with the White House and that “there will be no difference between the president's position and our position as to how to handle this.”
“When I heard that I was disturbed,” Murkowski told local NBC affiliate KTUU. “To me it means that we have to take that step back from being hand in glove with the defense, and so I heard what leader McConnell had said, I happened to think that that has further confused the process."
Murkowski also took issue with Democrats’ tight timetable. “Speaker Pelosi was very clear, very direct that her goal was to get this done before Christmas,” she said.
Since the House adopted two articles of impeachment last week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has sat on them as leverage for getting the Republican-controlled Senate to hold a trial on Democrats' terms, including calling witnesses Democrats wanted but did not seek to compel via the courts.
According to Murkowski, the House did not fulfill their part during the impeachment hearings.
“If the House truly believes that they had information that was going to be important, they subpoena them, and if they ignore the subpoena — as they did, at the direction of the White House — then that next step is to go to the courts,” the senator explained.
Murkowski echoed the remarks of Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who censured Democrats for being quick to impeach and then asking the Senate to bring in more witnesses.
“I just think it’s kind of bizarre they had to rush to this impeachment vote, and then all of a sudden she’s sitting on it,” Johnson said to ABC’s This Week on Sunday. “I don’t think the Senate should be making the case the House should have made in their presentation. My guess is they weren’t able to make the case.”
Murkowski concluded by saying that “how we will deal with witnesses remains to be seen.” Her comments raise the question of whether she, along with other moderate Republicans in the Senate, might break rank and vote to convict the president.
In addition to Murkowski, GOP senators seen as having potential to vote against President Trump are Susan Collins of Maine, Cory Gardner of Colorado, and Mitt Romney of Utah.
The question of a possible party break also hovers over Democrats from red states, such as Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Doug Jones of Alabama, Gary Peters of Michigan, and Krysten Sinema of Arizona.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if we got one or two Democrats,” McConnell told Hannity, adding that “My hope is that there won’t be a single Republican who votes for either of these articles in the House.”
Murkowski insists she has not yet made up her mind on whether the president is guilty of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — the two impeachment articles drafted against him.
“For me to prejudge and say there’s nothing there or on the other hand, he should be impeached yesterday, that’s wrong, in my view, that’s wrong,” she said. “If it means that I am viewed as one who looks openly and critically at every issue in front of me, rather than acting as a rubber stamp for my party or my president, I'm totally good with that.”
McConnell has knocked the Democrats’ claims to impartiality, claiming the entire impeachment process is a “political exercise.”
“Do you think Chuck Schumer is impartial? Do you think Elizabeth Warren is impartial? Bernie Sanders is impartial? So let's quit the charade. This is a political exercise.... All I'm asking of Schumer is that we treat Trump the same way we treated [President] Clinton,” he said.
In a Monday court filing, Douglas Letter, House Judiciary Committee Democrats’ lawyer, revealed that lawmakers may later pursue additional articles of impeachment.
Making reference to Democrats’ desire that the Senate call on former White House Counsel Don McGahn to testify, Letter wrote: “If McGahn’s testimony produces new evidence supporting the conclusion that President Trump committed impeachable offenses that are not covered by the Articles approved by the House, the Committee will proceed accordingly — including, if necessary, by considering whether to recommend new articles of impeachment.”
Luis Miguel is a writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.