News & Politics

Murkowski Kills Democrats' Hopes for Witnesses in Impeachment Trial

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, speaks to members of the media after a vote to advance Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court, on Capitol Hill, Friday, Oct. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

On Friday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) announced she would vote against the effort to call witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial concerning President Donald Trump. Following the news that Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) would also vote against witnesses, Murkowski makes it almost certain that the vote will fail.

“I worked for a fair, honest, and transparent process, modeled after the Clinton trial, to provide ample time for both sides to present their cases, ask thoughtful questions, and determine whether we need more,” Murkowski said in a statement on Twitter. “The House chose to send articles of impeachment that are rushed and flawed. I carefully considered the need for additional witnesses and documents, to cure the shortcomings of its process, but ultimately decided that I will vote against considering motions to subpoena.”

She predicted that extending the Senate trial would not change the nearly assured acquittal.

“Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate. I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything,” Murkowski added.

She condemned the effort to pressure Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to support more witnesses, dragging the Supreme Court into the partisan battle along with the House and the Senate. “I will not stand for nor support that effort.”

“We are sadly at a low point of division in this country,” the senator concluded.

While Alexander and Murkowski will vote against witnesses, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said they would vote to prolong the trial. That brings the expected vote to 49-51.

With the vote expected to fail, the Senate is likely to end the trial early next week with a vote to acquit President Donald Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has suggested the Senate could not acquit him without more witnesses, because it would not then count as a trial. Do not expect Democrats to drop this.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.