You guys, GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski is DEEPLY CONCERNED this Christmas.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, says she was “disturbed” to hear Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell say there would be "total coordination" between the White House and the Senate over the upcoming presidential impeachment trial.
“And in fairness, when I heard that I was disturbed,” Murkowski said before describing that there should be distance between the White House and the Senate in how the trial is conducted. “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 was critical of the impeachment process conducted in the House of Representatives that she describes as rushed. “Speaker Pelosi was very clear, very direct that her goal was to get this done before Christmas.”
She says the Senate is now being asked to cure deficiencies in the evidence that will be presented at the trial, particularly when it comes to whether key witnesses should be brought forward to testify including White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton.
“How we will deal with witnesses remains to be seen,” Murkowski said before describing that the House should have gone to the courts if witnesses refused to appear before Congress.
For how the trial is formulated, Murkowski spoke of her desire for a “full and fair process,” potentially using President Clinton’s impeachment hearings as a template.
Murkowski remains undecided how she would vote when the trial takes place. “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."
On the one hand, this is precisely why Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer didn't immediately send over articles of impeachment to the Senate, in order to make vulnerable GOP senators sweat a little and to get other, less vulnerable (but still very media savvy and mavericky grandstanders) GOP senators like Murkowski to put pressure on McConnell to allow a Real, Actual Senate Trial™.
On the other hand, Murkowski is openly lying when she says she hasn't made up her mind in order to acquit Trump yet. As GOP Senate leader, Mitch McConnell is a lot of things, ruthless, corrupt, immoral, and one of the most repugnant villains of our political era, but he's not stupid. There's no way he hasn't already set ground rules with Murkowski, Romney, Collins, Cory Gardner, etc. for moving forward, and for that matter, he's already had his conversations with Democrats like Doug Jones and Joe Manchin. Witnesses allowed in the trial or not, the outcome is preordained.
On the gripping hand, Murkowski playing this game serves both the GOP and the Democrats, and both sides know it, so the forms must be obeyed.
Another Washington Christmas, where hope of bipartisanship springs eternal and all that.