Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she’ll vote against calling witnesses to speak at President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, arguing that it didn’t make sense to continue an already heavily politicized trial.
“Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate,” she said in a statement Friday. “I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything. It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed.”
Murkowski criticized the articles of impeachment sent to the Senate by the House, calling them “rushed and flawed.” She also denounced those who would “further politicize this process, and drag the Supreme Court into the fray, while attacking the Chief Justice” ― an apparent reference to a question asked by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) during Thursday’s question-and-answer portion of the trial.
A vote in support of hearing witnesses from Murkowski would likely have split the Senate 50-50 on the issue, meaning that motion would have failed unless Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the impeachment trial, stepped in to cast a tie-breaking vote.
As other senators were announcing their decisions Thursday night, Murkowski said she would “reflect” on her choice.
“I am going to go reflect on what I have heard, reread my notes and decide whether I need to hear more,” the senator said on Thursday night.
Earlier this week, a New York Times report revealed that John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, wrote in a book manuscript that the president intentionally withheld aid from Ukraine to pressure that country into announcing an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden, a front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination. That development placed more pressure on Republicans to consider calling witnesses in the impeachment trial.