Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced Friday that she will vote against calling witnesses to testify at President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial, while also taking a direct shot at Sen. Elizabeth Warren over a question that the 2020 presidential candidate posed to Chief Justice John Roberts at the trial Thursday.
“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,” Murkowski said in a statement.
The Alaska Republican’s decision all but assures that the GOP will stave off Democrats’ calls to invite former national security adviser John Bolton and other witnesses to testify at the trial. Bolton reportedly said in his unpublished memoir that Trump linked military aid to Ukraine to Ukrainian investigations of former Vice President Joe Biden.
If true, Bolton’s claim would undercut Trump’s impeachment defense that he did not withhold military aid as part of a quid pro quo for Biden-related investigations.
At least four Republicans would have had to join all Democrats in a vote for witnesses. Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine are the only two Republicans to say the want to hear from witnesses.
Murkowski and GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee were considered earlier this week to be on the fence on the matter. Alexander, a close ally of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, announced his opposition to witnesses on Thursday. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: GOP Senator Mike Braun Previews Final Impeachment Vote)
Murkowski called the House’s articles of impeachment “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 said.
She also referred to a tense moment during the Senate trial on Thursday when Warren, a Democrat, introduced a question about whether Roberts, the Supreme Court chief justice, could be impartial at the trial.
Roberts read the question aloud: “At a time when large majorities of Americans have lost faith in government, does the fact that the chief justice is presiding over an impeachment trial in which Republican senators have thus far refused to allow witnesses or evidence contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution?”
“It has also become clear some of my colleagues intend to further politicize this process, and drag the Supreme Court into the fray, while attacking the Chief Justice. I will not stand for nor support that effort,” Murkowski said in her statement.
“We are sadly at a low point of division in this country,” she added.
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