Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska.) said that she has not yet decided how to vote on the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in the Senate on Tuesday.
“I think it is fair to say that right now there is so much uncertainty,” she told KTUU during an interview while insisting impartiality for the trial. “For me to prejudge and say there’s nothing there or, on the other hand, he should be impeached just yesterday, that’s wrong.”
Murkowski, one of the three swing Republicans in the Senate, denounced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for rushing to impeach Trump.
“Speaker Pelosi was very clear, very direct that her goal was to get this done before Christmas,” she said, “If the House truly believed that they [White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton] had information that was going to be important they subpoenaed them, and if they ignored the subpoena as they did at the direction of the White House, then that next step is to go to the court.”
Murkowski stated that she will act independently during the trial.
“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,” she said.
Before the House Judiciary Committee approved the articles of impeachment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he will coordinate with the White House counsel’s office and the people who are representing the president to figure out how to handle the impeachment process in the Senate during an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News.
Mitch McConnell: Everything I do during this, I’m coordinating with White House Counsel. There will be no difference between the President’s position and our position as to how to handle this pic.twitter.com/baFaTKWvUl
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) December 13, 2019
“There will be no difference between the President’s position and our position as to how to handle this to the extent that we can,” he said, adding, “We have no choice but to take it up.”
Murkowski said she could not agree with McConnell’s comments.
“When I heard that I was disturbed,” she said. “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.”
The House approved two articles of impeachment against Trump, one for abuse of power and the other for obstruction of congress, on Dec. 18.
But the impeachment process turned unexpectedly afterward.
After passage of the articles of impeachment, Pelosi refused to send them to the Senate as expected and insisted to learn the Senate trial process first. She also suggested that the Senate should call witnesses during the trial in alignment with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
The House cannot choose our impeachment managers until we know what sort of trial the Senate will conduct.
President Trump blocked his own witnesses and documents from the House, and from the American people, on phony complaints about the House process. What is his excuse now?
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 23, 2019
“The House cannot choose our impeachment managers until we know what sort of trial the Senate will conduct,” she wrote on Twitter. “President Trump blocked his own witnesses and documents from the House, and from the American people, on phony complaints about the House process. What is his excuse now?”
However, McConnell wants the Senate trial to stay with the bipartisan precedent established during President Bill Clinton’s trial when Senators voted for initial guidelines 100-0 before voting on the question of witnesses after both sides made their cases to the Senators, the Epoch Times reported.
“As of today, however, we remain at an impasse. Because my friend, the Democratic leader, continues to demand a new and different set of rules for President Trump. He wants to break from that unanimous bipartisan precedent and force an all-or-nothing approach,” McConnell said.