Murkowski blasts Trump’s election claims, calls House impeachment appropriate
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) on Thursday issued a blistering critique of President Trump’s false claims that the election was “rigged,” and said that the House acted “appropriately” by impeaching him.
Murkowski didn’t say how she would vote in an upcoming Senate impeachment trial, pledging to “listen carefully and consider the arguments.” But she offered a broad rebuke of the president and signaled support for the House’s bipartisan vote, which made Trump the first president to be impeached twice.
“On the day of the riots, President Trump’s words incited violence, which led to the injury and deaths of Americans – including a Capitol Police officer – the desecration of the Capitol, and briefly interfered with the government’s ability to ensure a peaceful transfer of power,” Murkowski said in a statement on Thursday.
“Such unlawful actions cannot go without consequence and the House has responded swiftly, and I believe, appropriately, with impeachment,” she added.
Murkowski’s comments come after the House, in a bipartisan vote, impeached Trump for committing high crimes and misdemeanors by “willfully inciting violence against the Government of the United States.”
Ten Republicans — including Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the No. 3 House Republican — supported impeaching Trump, a break from the 2019 impeachment votes that garnered no House GOP support.
Trump has claimed for weeks that the election was “stolen,” even as his legal team has lost dozens of court cases and election experts have debunked claims of widespread voter fraud.
On Jan. 6, Trump urged his supporters to march to the Capitol as Vice President Pence and lawmakers were counting the Electoral College vote, including warning that, “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
Murkowski denounced Trump’s rhetoric in her statement on Thursday, as well as attempts by the president and his closest allies to pressure Pence into challenging the election results in key battleground states won by President-elect Joe Biden.
“For months, the President has perpetrated false rhetoric that the election was stolen and rigged, even after dozens of courts ruled against these claims. When he was not able to persuade the courts or elected officials, he launched a pressure campaign against his own Vice President, urging him to take actions that he had no authority to do,” Murkowski said.
The Senate is now expected to hold an impeachment trial, though the exact timing is unclear because House Democrats have not said when they will transmit the article of impeachment. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has refused a Democratic request to bring the Senate back into session early, therefore, the trial will not start until after Biden is sworn in.
Murkowksi became the first GOP senator to call on Trump to resign in the wake of the attack on the Capitol. But she did not say on Thursday if she would vote to convict Trump at the end of the Senate trial.
“When the Article of Impeachment comes to the Senate, I will follow the oath I made when sworn as a U.S. Senator. I will listen carefully and consider the arguments of both sides, and will then announce how I will vote,” Murkowski said.
Murkowski previously voted to acquit Trump in his first impeachment trial.
But in her statement on Thursday, she appeared to draw a contrast between the 2019 House impeachment and the vote held on Wednesday.
“This second impeachment stands in stark contrast to what we faced last January—an impeachment that was partisan from the beginning and left no opportunity for a fair trial in the Senate,” she said, adding that the House vote had “the most bipartisan support and the largest number of votes for a presidential impeachment.”
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