Centrist Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) announced Monday that she “cannot vote to convict” President Donald Trump on the charges brought against him by House Democrats in the ongoing Senate impeachment trial, arguing it is up to the American people to “pronounce a verdict” in November.
The moderate from Alaska also had strong words of condemnation for the conduct of the House, the Senate, and the president.
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“The House rushed through what should have been one of the most serious, consequential undertakings of the legislative branch simply to meet an artificial, self-imposed deadline,” Murkowski said from the Senate floor. She declared twice, “The House failed in its responsibilities.”
Moving on to voice her displeasure over how Senate proceedings were conducted, Murkowski said, “The Senate should be ashamed by the rank partisanship that has been on display here. We cannot be the greatest deliberative body when we kick things off by issuing letters to the media instead of coming together to set the parameters of the trial and negotiate in good faith on how we should proceed.”
Sen. Murkowski, addressing some of her Democratic colleagues, said, “For all the talk of impartiality, it is clear to me that few in this chamber approached this with a genuinely open mind. Some have been calling for the president to be impeached for years.” Then, addressing some of her fellow Republicans, the senator continued, “Others in this chamber saw little need to even consider the arguments from the House before stating their intentions to acquit.”
Speaking of members of both parties and both chambers over their complete reversal of arguments from the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, Murkowski said, “That level of hypocrisy is astounding.”
Sen. Murkowski went on to say, “The president’s behavior was shameful and wrong. His personal interests do not take precedence over those of this great nation.”
The senator from Alaska argued that half of America wanted the Senate to dismiss the impeachment articles against President Trump immediately, and the other half would only view the trial as being fair if the president were removed from office.
Ultimately, Murkowski said, “I cannot vote to convict. The Constitution provides for impeachment, but does not demand it in all instances.” She added, “Removal from office and being barred from ever holding another office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States is the political death penalty. The president’s name is on ballots that have already been cast. The voters will pronounce a verdict in nine months, and we must trust their judgment.”