Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she will vote no to hearing from witnesses during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, which all but ensures that Republican senators will have enough votes to block witnesses.
With Murkowski’s Friday announcement, which followed Tennesee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander’s Thursday announcement that he too would vote no, it appears as though the Senate Democrats will not have the 51 votes needed to call witnesses.
Both Murkowski and Alexander, along with Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who both announced they would vote in favor of witnesses, were the Democrats’ last hope, but they needed all four to continue the proceedings.
Murkowski released a statement that not only blamed House Democrats for her decision, explaining that the impeachment articles were “rushed and flawed,” but also seemed to lay some blame at the feet of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
First, Murkowski wrote, in part, “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.”
But in the statement, Murkowski added, “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.”
Referencing an “attack” on Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the impeachment trial, Murkowski is likely referring to a question submitted by Warren during the proceedings on Thursday. Roberts was cornered into reading the question aloud, which asked about the legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court and the Constitution following an impeachment trial that included no witnesses or evidence.