Murkowski ‘disturbed’ by McConnell’s pledge for ‘total coordination’ with White House on impeachment
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she does not agree with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) comments that he will work in “total coordination” with the White House during the looming impeachment trial.
“When I heard that I was disturbed,” Murkowski told KTUU, an NBC affiliate, in an interview that aired Tuesday.
McConnell has been criticized for his comments by Democrats, given that senators take an oath to be impartial jurors during the trial.
“To me,” Murkowski continued, speaking of the Senate’s constitutional responsibility in the process, “it means 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 happen to think that that has further confused the process.”
Murkowski, a more moderate Republican, is seen as one of a few GOP senators who could break from the party on a vote to remove Trump from office, though the president is widely expected to be acquitted given the Republican control of the chamber.
Unlike some of her colleagues, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) who said he is ready to vote and doesn’t need to hear any witnesses, Murkowski said she won’t “prejudge” the situation before the process continues.
“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,” she said.
“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 am totally good with that,” Murkowski added. “I am totally, totally good with that.”
The House voted earlier this month in favor of two articles of impeachment against President Trump in a largely party-line vote. The articles are stalled, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) yet to send them to the Senate as leaders of the upper chamber agree on a Senate trial process.
McConnell signaled on Monday the talks about a trial are in limbo until senators return to Washington in a couple of weeks.